Foodservice Equipment Reports

Upbeat Mood And Numbers Don’t Lie

We’re still in the middle of the National Restaurant Association Show as we write this. There is only one way to characterize the mood and attitude of the dealers, buying group execs, manufacturers, operators and others we’ve spoken with during the show: optimistic. The equipment and supplies market really is improving in most parts of the country. We’re reminded of the line from the Eagles’ song “Hotel California: “We haven’t seen that spirit here since…” well, 2007.

But mood is one thing and hard facts another. And the numbers look pretty good. The run-up in gasoline prices February through April hasn’t appeared to derail consumer spending on foodservice, as it did the previous two years. The NRA’s Restaurant Performance Index for March matched its post-recession high. Consumer confidence also has held up pretty well, in spite of gas prices and a bit of slowdown in jobs growth.

Our friends at Technomic Inc. shared with us the revision of their operator forecast, released Monday, May 7. They’ve gotten optimistic and taken up the forecast. Why?, we asked Joe Pawlak, v.p. at the research firm. “The market just finally looks to be strengthening,” he told us.

Not least, sales of the 44 dealers that verified their numbers for June’s FER Top Dealer Report rose 10.3% last year. That’s up dramatically from a very slight 1.4% gain year-over-year gain in ’10.

We’re not saying there aren’t challenges ahead. But with the upbeat mood and improving market, this is certainly a lot more fun than a couple of years ago.



Robin Ashton


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