Foodservice Equipment Reports

Global Foodservice Traffic Remains Sluggish Everywhere But China

Only two of the 10 major foodservice markets tracked by The NPD Group saw traffic increases in the fourth quarter of 2012, though check average increases helped six of the 10 post sales gains. Even in China, traffic growth slowed to below 10% for the first quarter in years. Australia, with a one-point gain, was the only other market posting an increase.

The markets in Europe and Japan remain very weak with France, Germany, Italy and Spain all reporting traffic fell more than 1%. Traffic in Spain was off another 3% in the quarter. Only the United Kingdom managed to maintain customer visit levels. Traffic in Japan also fell more than 2%. Canada and the U.S. saw flat traffic counts for the year.

Christine Tartanson, director of NPD France Foodservice, said the fall in French restaurant traffic was a result of a 6% drop in morning and afternoon snacking occasions and lower traffic at dinner. “Only the foodservice lunch business at quick-service and full-service restaurants managed to resist declines in the quarter.”

Bob O’Brien, senior v.p. overseeing NPD’s global foodservice business, noted that lunch is the biggest traffic generator in nearly all developed markets and that improvement in lunch traffic in most markets late last year provides a “glimmer of hope for positive momentum in the coming quarters.”

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

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