Foodservice Equipment Reports

Technomic Tinkers Only Slightly With 2012 And ’13 Operator Forecasts

In spite of economic uncertainty and another round of surging gasoline and food prices, Technomic Inc. has revised its forecasts for operator sales growth this year and next only very slightly in the latest go-round. The Chicago-based foodservice research firm continues to peg nominal dollar growth at 3.9% this year and 4.3% in 2013, the same as its preliminary forecast released in May. Real growth is expected to be 1.5% in ’12 and 1.8% next. Menu-price inflation is forecast at 2.5% both years.

Technomic V.P. Joe Pawlak explained the firm’s thinking this way, “Despite economic uncertainty, it appears that operators are holding their own in terms of sales and top-line revenues. Although growth is modest, it is still growth.”

But Pawlak also noted that, “With the drought this summer, operators are facing higher costs of many commodities, namely proteins. With this, they need to economize in other areas which will also negatively impact capital purchases.”

The group left unchanged its forecast for restaurants and bars. Nominal growth is expected to be 4.3% this year and 4.7% next, with real growth rates of 1.7% and 2.1%, respectively. Full-service restaurants are forecast to grow 4% in nominal terms in ’12 and 4.5% next year, a marked improvement over the segment’s performance throughout the Great Recession. Quick-service restaurants are predicted to post 4.5% growth this year and 4.8% next.

Forecasts for nearly all the “beyond restaurants” categories also were consistent with the May preliminary release. Segments forecast to grow commercial-equivalent sales the fastest include lodging and, separately, caterers, with growth set at 6% this year and 6.5% next; colleges and universities with forecast growth of 5.5% both years; and hospitals, which are expected to post 5% growth in both ’12 and ’13.

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