Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
April 22, 2008

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
Raleigh Dumps Disposer Ban In Garbage
Calorie-Counters Continue To Chase Chains
More Localities Blowing Smoke Over Smoking
What The Heck Are They Smoking?

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
FER E&S Market Forecast Meeting
Manitowoc To Buy Enodis
NSF Honors Food Safety Leaders
Washington, Cain To Highlight Michael E. Hurst Student Forum During NRA Show

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In This Section:
Blue Chip Economists Fear Shallow Recession In The Works
Technomic's Top 500 Restaurant Chains Grew Sales 5%, Units 2.6% Last Year
Consumer Confidence Continues Dive As Gas, Food Prices Soar
FER Announces Date For President's Preview Forecast Seminar

This issue's Regulatory ReportSponsor: Enodis
Industry ReportSponsor: FER E&S Market Forecast Meeting
Economic Report Manitowoc Foodservice Group

Blue Chip Economists Fear Shallow Recession In The Works
It ain't just the economy, folks, that's driving the slowdown in restaurant traffic, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

The more than 50 leading economists surveyed monthly by the Blue Chip Economic Indicators newsletter dropped their consensus forecast of growth in the United State again in April. Now more than half of those economists polled believe the country is already in or will enter recession this year.

The group's consensuses for both 2008 and '09 real growth of gross domestic product fell again by 0.1 point each to 1.4% and 2.2% respectively. The forecasts for both real disposable personal income and personal consumption expenditures also fell. The forecast for the latter is a mere 1.4% for '08 and a still-meager 1.9% next year.

But there was some cause for moderate calm if not mirth. As Randall Moore, executive editor of the newsletter put it, "The good news is that none of our panelists currently predict a particularly deep or protracted downturn in the economy." Moore said the approved Federal stimulus package, the lowering of the interest rates by The Federal Reserve as well as programs to help mitigate the housing and credit crunches should combine with robust export sales to get the economy moving again.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice Group

Technomic's Top 500 Restaurant Chains Grew Sales 5%, Units 2.6% Last Year
The slowdown that the restaurant industry experienced in 2007 affected leading chains as well as smaller organizations, just not as much, according to Technomic Inc.

According to the firm's just-released annual study, the Top 500 saw sales rise 5% to $223.7 billion last year. Sales in '06 rose 6.1%. By comparison, industry sales rose 3.9% in '07, down from 5.9% the year before.

Unit expansion also slowed for both the big folks and the industry. Top 500 chains saw a total unit gain of 2.6% in '07 compared with 3.8% in '06. The industry unit expansion rate fell to 1.2% from 2.6%

The Top 500 now control 61.5% of industry sales and 35.4% of units.

For information on obtaining the Top 500, go to or call Technomic at 312/876-0004.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice Group

Consumer Confidence Continues Dive As Gas, Food Prices Soar
Consumer sentiment fell strongly again in the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers preliminary report, released April 11 exclusively by Reuters.

The Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 63.2 from a final March reading of 69.5. The reading is the lowest sentiment number seen since November 1982, when the so-called "stagflation recession" was just ending.

"The April loss was due to rising inflation and shrinking income gains," according to the release accompanying the numbers.

And the factors that are driving the downturned confidence and expectations aren't getting any better. Gasoline prices rose again during the week ending April 14, up 5.7 cents to a U.S.-average $3.39, according to the Federal government's Energy Information Administration. Gasoline is running 51.3 cents a gallon more than this time last year.

And food prices at the wholesale level spiked again in March, up a robust 1.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the three months ended in March, wholesale food prices rose 10.1%. This follows an 11.5% jump for the three months ended December 2007.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice Group

FER Announces Date For President's Preview Forecast Seminar
This coming July 30 is the date for Foodservice Equipment Reports' 2009 E&S Market Forecast President's Preview meeting. The equipment and supplies forecast seminar will once again be held at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, Ill.

The meeting will feature the magazine's hard-number forecasts for E&S market growth in 2007 and '08, and will include a wealth of data on general economic, operator and materials-price trends. A panel of leading operators will once again kick off the meeting. John Muldowney, principal at Clarity Marketing, Tipp City, Ohio, will join FER Publisher Robin Ashton in presenting the forecast. Muldowney will also update his data on the performance of the Top 150 E&S manufacturers. Not least, AutoQuotes will update its data on E&S pricing trends.

The one-day meeting is scheduled to allow most attendees to fly in and out the day of the meeting. A limited number of hotel rooms at Eaglewood is also available for July 29. Seminar fee is $845 before June 20, $945 after.

Information on registration and the hotel is available at or by calling Jessica Scurlock or Robin Ashton at 800/986-9616.

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