Foodservice Equipment Reports

Unemployment Undercut 2012 Restaurant Visits By Hispanics, Reports NPD

Restaurant traffic fell 1% for U.S. Hispanics last year, as higher than average unemployment as well as demographic differences among the ethnic group led to a loss of 86 million visits, according to data from The NPD Group’s “CREST Hispanic.” For the country as a whole, traffic rose 1% last year.

In contrast, even though their number of visits declined, check average rose 4% for the group from the year earlier period. The reason: Hispanic consumers shifted away from value menus.

Unemployment averaged 10.3% in 2012 for Hispanic workers, while the national average was 8.1%. In addition, Hispanics are younger as a group than non-Hispanics, with 34% of the group between 18-34 years old. This age demographic has seen the biggest declines in restaurant usage by all groups, as unemployment has significantly affected younger workers. The report also shows 84% of Hispanic traffic is at quick-service concepts, a higher percentage than the general population for which 78% of visits are at QSRs. The use of full-service concepts by U.S. Hispanics is historically below the national average, but their lagging visits to this segment accelerated last year.

Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for NPD said Hispanics “are an increasingly important customer base for the foodservice industry.” Hispanics visited restaurants 9.6 billion times last year and spent $63 billion. Total restaurant visits by all Americans average around 61 billion a year.

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