Foodservice Equipment Reports

Technomic Lowers 2013 Operator Sales Forecast

Technomic Inc. has revised downwards its estimates and forecasts for foodservice operator sales in 2012 and ’13. Real growth for this year is now forecast at 1%, down from the Chicago-based research firm’s forecast last August of 1.8%. The nominal forecast is now 3.9% versus 4.3%.

Technomic cut the forecasts for nearly all commercially oriented segments. The current dollar forecasts were not cut as deeply, as the research firm also boosted its menu inflation forecasts to 2.9% in ’12 and 3% in ’13. They had earlier predicted 2.5% inflation for both years.

The group also lowered its estimate for growth in ’12 slightly to 4.2% nominal and 1.4% real. Still, last year was the best year for operators since 2006.

The reasons for the revision come down to taxes and uncertainty among consumers. “The industry will experience some headwinds this year,” Technomic V.P Joe Pawlak said, “as the expiration of the payroll tax holiday will reduce consumer discretionary income. In addition, the negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling are causing consumers to be increasingly cautious with spending, as they are uncertain about the impact these will have on the economy and their own incomes.”

The real growth forecast for limited-service restaurants was cut more than a full point dropping to 1% from 2.2%. Full-service restaurants are also forecast to grow 1%, down from the earlier 2%. The forecasts for recreation, lodging, business and industry, colleges and universities, and social caterers were all revised lower. Supermarket foodservice and senior living forecasts were boosted slightly.

Technomic’s revised forecasts of 3.9% nominal and 1% real growth are still slightly more optimistic than the ’13 forecast released last month by the National Restaurant Association. NRA predicts nominal growth of 3.8% and real growth of 0.8%.

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