Operators looking to penetrate the huge Los Angeles market need to understand that small chains and independents rule the terrain, as do consumers with a fondness for healthful food choices and Mexican fare, say officials with market research firm The NPD Group. With slightly more than 34,000 restaurants, or 6 percent of all U.S. restaurants, Los Angeles is the country’s second-largest restaurant market in terms of number of units, according to NPD’s Spring 2007 ReCount database. ...

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