Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
February 2, 2010

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice
Schools Can Get Kitchen-Equipment Grants From USDA

California, Vermont Get The Lead Out
ASHRAE Updates HVAC Principles
NRA Names New Lobbying Chief

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Obituary: Taco Bell Founder Glen Bell
Ricchio Retires, Ibrahim To Head Star
Wingstop Spreads Its Wings
Red Robin Plans 15-Plus Company Units
Japan To Sprout Hundreds Of Sbarros
Captain D's Looks For New Owners
CFESA Sets Dates For 2010 EGS Training Course

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In This Section:
NRA Forecasts Flat Real Growth For 2010
Technomic Cuts Operator-Sales Forecast To 3% Real Decline
Consumer Confidence Up In January, McDonald's U.S. Comp Sales Positive In December
Freshened FER E&S Forecast Available After MUFES

This issue's Regulatory ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice
Industry ReportSponsor: Server Products
Economic Report Henny Penny

By Robin Ashton

NRA Forecasts Flat Real Growth For 2010

The National Restaurant Association predicts the restaurant industry and foodservice as a whole will show gradual improvement through 2010, and grow nominal sales 2.5% to $580.1 billion. With a projected menu inflation rate of 2.6%, the forecast calls for a real decline of 0.1%, the third consecutive year of declining sales in real terms. Still, '10 looks to be a significant improvement over '09's estimated 2.9% real decline and 08's estimated 1.2% drop. The association released its annual forecast Jan. 20.

The NRA forecast is quite a bit more optimistic than the '10 Technomic Inc. forecast released last September and revised downward last week (see article following).

Not that the NRA doesn't recognize the difficult climate. "The past two years have been a very challenging time for our industry," said Dawn Sweeney, NRA president and CEO. "While there are still substantial challenges ahead, we are encouraged that the outlook is improving."

The NRA forecasts real growth of 0.4% for quick-service restaurants and strong 1.9% real growth for social caterers. Full-service restaurants will continue to struggle with real sales predicted off another 1.5%. A number of noncommercial segments are forecast to grow this year, including healthcare.

The NRA 2010 Forecast is available for purchase at It includes not only detailed segment forecasts and a host of information on food, food cost, consumer, menu and operations trends, but also state-by-state and regional forecasts. We'll look at some of these forecasts in the next FER Fortnightly


Section sponsored by Henny Penny

Technomic Cuts Operator-Sales Forecast To 3% Real Decline
Technomic Inc., the other major organization forecasting foodservice operator sales beside the National Restaurant Association (see article above), released a revised version of its 2010 foodservice forecast on Jan. 25. The research firm now predicts current-dollar foodservice sales will fall 1.6% this year and decline 3% in real terms. The original forecast released last September projected nominal sales off 0.8% and real sales down 2.3%

"While the forecast remained unchanged for most foodservice segments, weaker than anticipated sales in major areas including fast food, business dining and vending segments prompted the downward adjustment for the overall industry," Technomic noted in announcing the revision.

The big factor was the deterioration in the outlook for quick-service restaurants, which in '09 accounted for nearly $190 billion in sales and 37.9% of the total foodservice market. It is by far the largest single foodservice segment. Technomic revised the '10 quick-service forecast from flat in real terms in September to -1.5% in the revised version. The firm pushed the already-negative real-growth forecasts for B&I and vending down another 4.4 and 2.4 points respectively.

Information on Technomic forecasts and research products, including the detailed forecast numbers by segment, is available at

Section sponsored by Henny Penny

Consumer Confidence Up In January, McDonald's U.S. Comp Sales Positive In December
Now for those couple of good-news items we try to provide in each Economic Report section of FER Fortnightly: The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index in January rose slightly again. And McDonald's reported worldwide same-store sales rose again in fourth-quarter 2009, and U.S. comparative sales moved back into positive territory.

The Consumer Confidence Index in January rose for the third consecutive month, to 55.9, up from 53.6 in December. The Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index also both rose.

And after two months of slight same-store-sales declines in the U.S. market, McDonald's reported Jan. 22 that such sales were up 1% in December and 0.1% for the quarter. Globally, comp sales rose 2.3% for the quarter, with all regions reporting gains.

It's not a lot, but since McDonald's has been leading the market, it does perhaps portend a flattening out.

Section sponsored by Henny Penny

Freshened FER E&S Forecast Available After MUFES
Robin Ashton, publisher of Foodservice Equipment Reports, and John Muldowney, principal at Clarity Marketing in Tipp City, Ohio, will present a newly revised version of FER's 2010 Equipment & Supplies Market Forecast at the magazine's biennial Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium on Feb. 14. Happy Valentine's Day!

Those who can't make MUFES '10 can purchase the revision, which will include updated information on general economic, operator, materials and E&S-pricing trends, as well as hard-number forecasts of E&S sales at the manufacturer level for '10-'13.

The updated version will be available in PowerPoint format for $349. Those who have attended FER forecasts or other meetings, or who have purchased the forecast in the past, will receive a $50 discount. Those who attended the President's Preview Forecast Seminar in August or the Forecast Webinar in November will get the revised forecast at no charge. For information, e-mail Robin Ashton at or Chris Palmer at, or call the magazine at 800/986-9616.

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