Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
January 20, 2010

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice
Philadelphia's Menu Boards Fill Up
NYC Sets Voluntary Targets For Reducing Sodium
City May Trade Parking For Better Sidewalk Seating
Cleveland Code Compliance Goes Online
Shades Of Footloose: City Bars Dancing In Restaurant

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
A.J. Antunes & Co.
McDonald's Taps Thompson As New President
NakedPizza Announces 50-Unit Deal For South Florida
Wendy's Debuts First Of 35 Singapore Units
Brinker Opens In Saudi Arabia, Sets Global Expansion Goal
Applebee's Hits 2,000-Unit Milestone

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In This Section:
Are Things Starting To Look Up A Bit?
U.S. Foodservice Traffic Declines Steepest Of Wide Group
NRA To Release 2010 Industry Forecast This Week
FER To Present Revised E&S Forecast At MUFES

This issue's Regulatory ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice
Industry ReportSponsor: A.J. Antunes & Co.
Economic Report Henny Penny

By Robin Ashton

Are Things Starting To Look Up A Bit?

Parts of the economy that drive foodservice are beginning to show some signs of life. While many foodservice operators continue to post dismal numbers, and data from the National Restaurant Association make it clear operators have put off capital spending, other indicators, important ones, have begun to nose upwards.

Consumer confidence improved in December, according to both The Conference Board and Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys on Consumers. The U. Mich. Sentiment Index rose to 72.5, its best showing in three months and the second best number last year. The index stands 20.6% higher than a year ago. The Expectations Index also rose and is 27.6% ahead of December 2008.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index also rose moderately, and consumers' expectations for the short-term future reached their highest level in two years. Part of the upturn was consumer reaction to extensive discounting by merchants during the holiday season.

NPD Group is forecasting customer traffic data will finally break back into positive territory this summer, Nation's Restaurant News reported last week. Traffic has been dreadful, with a fall-off of 4.1% in the last quarter of '09 versus year prior, the research group says. The group forecast a 2.5% decline for first-quarter '10 and a 1.2% fall in the spring, before traffic nudges up 0.7% June through August. The NPD forecast calls for traffic gains exceeding 1% for the three following quarters.

The economists surveyed monthly by Blue Chip Economic Indicators also are slightly more upbeat these days. They raised their consensus forecast for '10 real growth of gross domestic product a tenth-point to 2.8% and also boosted their outlook for personal disposable income to 2% from 1.7%. Their initial GDP forecast for '11 is for real growth of 3.1%, while the forecasts for DPI and personal consumption spending are a healthier 2.6% and 2.5% respectively.

Sure, there's still plenty of less than good news out there—payroll employment fell by 85,000 again in December—but signs of green shoots are always welcome in the depths of winter.


Section sponsored by Henny Penny

U.S. Foodservice Traffic Declines Steepest Of Wide Group
The United State isn't the only country suffering through the Great Foodservice Recession, but the U.S. downturn in traffic has been worse than in any other country tracked by The NPD Group's CREST studies.

According to data for third-quarter 2009, traffic fell from year-earlier levels in every country NPD analyzes except Canada, which saw traffic jump 3.3%. The traffic declines were deepest in the United States, 4.3%; Spain, down 4.1%; and the U.K., down 2.7%. Traffic fell 1.1% in France and less than 1% in Italy, Germany and Japan.

But because the United States was the only country that recorded a significant increase in average check, up 2.7%, the overall impact on sales was mitigated. Spain saw foodservice prices fall 2.1% on top of the traffic decline for a consumer spending decline of 6.2%. Japan's overall spending was down 5.8%, and that in Britain was off 3.3%. By contrast, spending fell only 1.8% in the United States.

As has been true in the United States until just recently, "value" segments continue to outperform full-service segments. NPD reports visits to quick-service segments rose in six of eight countries the group tracks. Convenience-store and retail-based foodservice also saw "relatively healthy" traffic.

CREST also has begun consumer panels in China, initiating data with the first quarter of '09. Traffic in the third quarter rose 2% versus the second quarter.

Information on NPD research products is available at

Section sponsored by Henny Penny

NRA To Release 2010 Industry Forecast This Week

The National Restaurant Association's annual forecast of the restaurant industry will be available this week. The forecast provides a broad range of trends information and hard-number forecasts, including segment breakdowns and state-by-state trends.

Information on the forecast is available at

Section sponsored by Henny Penny

FER To Present Revised E&S Forecast At MUFES
Didn't get a chance to attend our President's Preview forecast last August or the forecast Webinar in November? You have another chance to see our latest revision next month at our biennial Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13-16 at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas.

Robin Ashton, FER publisher, and John Muldowney, principal at Clarity Marketing, Tipp City, Ohio, will present a newly revised version Sunday, Feb. 14. Information on MUFES can be found at Supplier attendees must meet the event's advertising requirements.

In the meantime, the current revision, done last November, is available for $249. In addition to receiving an Executive Summary presentation, those purchasing the updated forecast will get six more sections in PowerPoint format, providing updated data and forecasts on macroeconomic, operator, materials-pricing and E&S-sales trends; an overview of the Top 150 E&S Manufacturers from Clarity Marketing; and historical data on E&S pricing from AutoQuotes.

Those who have attended FER forecasts or other meetings, or have purchased the forecast in the past, will receive a $50 discount. Those who attended the President's Preview Forecast Seminar in August get the revised forecast at no charge and should have received an e-mail link to the updates. For information, or if you missed the link, e-mail Robin Ashton at or Chris Palmer at, or call the magazine's office at 800/986-9616.

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