Foodservice Equipment Reports

Most Major Global Foodservice Markets Grew 4Q/’11

In spite of tepid general economies in most of the 10 major foodservice markets tracked by The NPD Group’s CREST research, all but Spain saw restaurant spending rise at least slightly in the fourth quarter 2011, versus the fourth quarter ’10. Traffic was up in all markets except Spain, Australia and Italy.

Growth in China once again soared, in spite of a general Chinese economy that is seeing its overall economic growth slow somewhat. Total spending was up a remarkable 21.6% on traffic growth of nearly 15% and check growth exceeding 6%. The Canadian restaurant market, which experienced a year or so of very tepid growth beginning in the second half of ’10, rebounded smartly with traffic up 3.4% and average checks increasing 0.8%. Traffic in the U.S. was up 0.7% for the quarter and total spending rose 2%.

“The broad-based increases in traffic counts represent a continuation of the trends we’ve seen over the past quarters,” said Bob O’Brien, senior v.p. of global foodservice at NPD. O’Brien was the keynote speaker at Foodservice Equipment Reports Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium last January. “More foodservice visits on top of check boosts are driving the growth in consumer spending, which gives us some hope that a global recovery is underway.”

Robert Carter, executive director of Canada foodservice for NPD, said “Economic conditions in Canada didn’t do much to strengthen the environment for foodservice during the fall period, but as is often the case, foodservice begins to improve prior to an economic recovery.”

In addition to the markets mentioned above, NPD also tracks Japan (Tokyo and Osaka only), the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The fastest-growing developed economy other than Canada was Germany, which posted a 4.1% increase in total spending driven by a 3.4% increase in average check.

NPD’s CREST group will unveil its pilot usage study for the foodservice market in Mexico this summer. The research firm’s Food and Beverage Unit has plans for an overview study of at-home and away-from-home consumption habits in Brazil, Russia, Mexico, India and China. Publication of the overview study is expected late this year.

Information on The NPD Group foodservice research products is available at NPD.com.