Foodservice Equipment Reports

Restaurant Visits With Kids Remain Flat, Says NPD

While restaurant traffic involving adults rose 1% in 2012, thanks mostly to a gain in breakfast occasions, visits by parties with children remained flat last year, according to The NPD Group. Visits by parties with kids have been flat for two consecutive years after declines from’08 to ’10. Because adult-only visits account for 68% of all restaurant traffic, overall traffic inched up 1% last year.

But NPD said the lack of growth in visits with kids is among the factors contributing to sluggish traffic growth. NPD earlier reported other contributing factors, including a dramatic slowdown in visits by young adults in the 18- to 34-age range, who have been most negatively affected by the economic downturn and slow jobs growth. But NPD also sees parties with kids as opportunities operators can exploit to increase share.

“Our forecast is for sluggish restaurant demand over the next decade, which means operators will battle for market share,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant market analyst. “Getting families with their children restaurants back into restaurants is certainly one of the ways in which they can grow revenue and grow share.”

Riggs said the key issue seems to be cost. “We continually hear from families with kids that it’s too expensive to eat out. Restaurant operators must understand their financial situation and reflect it in pricing of kids’ menu items.”

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