Foodservice Equipment Reports

Traffic Growth Slowed This Spring, NPD Says

Restaurant traffic growth slowed this spring, according to the latest data from The NPD Group’s CREST studies. Overall visits grew 1% in the March through May period, slowing somewhat from the surge in traffic seen during the mild winter. The average check rose 2% during the quarter, less than menu-price inflation but the strongest sales gain in more than two years.

The slowdown and continuing economic sluggishness also prompted the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research firm to lower its forecast for full-year traffic trends to flat for 2012 and ’13. The group had previously forecast 1% gains for both years.

Quick-service restaurants continued to attract more visitors, with traffic up 2%, compared with a 3% gain in the winter quarter. QSRs attract 78% of all visitors. Full-service concepts, on the other hand, lost customers during the quarter. Midscale restaurants, 10% of total traffic, saw visitors fall 3%, while traffic at casual-dining concepts, which pull in 11% of visitors, fell another 2%. Traffic at full-service restaurants other than fine dining has been consistently negative throughout the Great Foodservice Recession.

“Customers may not be flocking to restaurants in droves,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst, “but they are going out. That’s good news.” She also noted that customers are spending a little more, relying slightly less on deals and trying new items.

Information on NPD research products can be found at npd.com.

Related Articles

Casual Dining Ends Five Years Of Traffic Declines As 2Q Traffic Rose 1%, Says NPD

Traffic Flat In Canada Past Year, Says NPD, But CRFA Forecast For 2014 Improves

U.S. Restaurant Traffic Was Flat For 12 Months Ended May, Says NPD