Foodservice Equipment Reports

Research Reports On Top Chains, Consumer Behavior And Canadian Market Are Now Available

While we’ve been busy reporting first-quarter E&S numbers and the like, the two leading foodservice research organizations have released several new research reports.

  • Technomic Inc. has released the full version of its annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. The top 500 chain concepts increased U.S. systemwide sales 1.8% in 2010, a marked improvement over the 0.8% decline for the top 500 in ’09. As usual, the largest chains outperformed the total restaurant industry, which saw nominal sales grow a mere 0.4% in ’10. Unit numbers rose 0.5% for the top 500 to 206,963, while the total industry numbers, 557,567 at the end of the year, fell 1%. International unit and sales growth for the 155 top 500 chains with overseas units was up 5.1% and 7.6% respectively. Many U.S.-based chains are aggressively expanding their international presence as the U.S. market matures.
  • Technomic has also released a new report on the top 100 fast-casual chains. While Panera continues to lead the segment, the Mexican menu category, led by Chipotle, overtook bakery/café in total. “Better burger,” with chains such as Five Guys and Smashburger posting impressive numbers, grew 16.1%, while Asian/noodle concepts saw sales grew 10.1%.
  • The NPD Group has a new report on how the Great Recession has changed consumer behavior and how that is affecting their use of foodservice. The Changing Consumer Mindset: What It Means to the Restaurant Industry says the recession has had a pronounced effect on consumer behavior, splitting U.S. consumers into two groups with very different behavioral patterns: a “cautious, controlled spender” group and a more optimistic group whose behavior has been relatively unaffected by the recession. Both groups cut across demographic and age categories, though the more optimistic group tends to be more affluent, while those in the cautious group tend to be less affluent or retired. For the cautious group, “the lingering effects of prolonged unemployment and loss of wealth…will carry forward in years to come, regardless of age,” says NPD’s Bonnie Riggs, author of the report. This group will continue to focus on price and value in their foodservice activity.
  • NPD has also released an interesting study on the Canadian food and beverage market called A Look Into the Future of Eating: Canadian Marketplace. The study looks out to 2020 and analyzes demographic and generational data to predict changes in food and foodservice behavior.
  • In a separate release, NPD reported on a presentation by Robert Carter, executive director for Canadian foodservice at NPD, at the second annual Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit in Toronto, April 14. One interesting fact: Canadians use restaurants more often than Americans. On an average day, 46% of Canadians go to a restaurant, slightly higher than the 44% of Americans who do so. Among the markets NPD tracks, only Italians eat out more often.

Information on Technomic research products is available at For NPD Group products, go to