Foodservice Equipment Reports

Restaurant Traffic Fell 0.4% In U.S. In 2Q, Reports NPD

The run-up in gasoline prices and a worsening jobs outlook undercut three quarters of moderate gains in restaurant traffic that began summer 2010, according to The NPD Group’s CREST data. Traffic in the U.S. fell 0.4% in the quarter ending June, compared to the same quarter last year, the Port Washington, N.Y., research firm reported last week.

“The consumer demand in the prior three quarters wasn’t strong enough to overcome another bump in unemployment, rising gas prices and low consumer confidence,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst.

Quick-service restaurant traffic, which accounts for more than three-quarter of all restaurant visits, was flat during the period. It had been showing gains of about 1% per quarter in the previous three quarters. Traffic at casual dining concepts fell 2% while that at midscale restaurants was off 4%. Fine dining/upscale hotel traffic, less than 1% of total traffic, was up slightly during the quarter, as it has been the past three quarters. Noncommercial traffic also fell, down 2%, with continuing weakness in recreation, business and industry and education, NPD said.With a gain of 0.4% in the first quarter, NPD still believes the year as a whole will show a traffic increase of about 1%, well off the peak years of ’07 and ’08.

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