Foodservice Equipment Reports

NPD Says U.S. Traffic Was Flat In Third Quarter

Customer visits to U.S. restaurants was flat again in the third quarter 2014, compared with the same quarter last year, according to The NPD Group. Traffic now has been flat or negative every quarter for the past five quarters, according to the firm’s CREST data. But thanks in part to menu price increases, consumer restaurant spending rose 3% during the quarter, the Rosemont, Ill.-based firm said.

Fast-casual and coffee concepts continued to take share from traditional quick-service concepts in the quarter. Fast-causal restaurants saw traffic rise 8% across all dayparts, while visits to quick-service Mexican and coffee/bagel/donut concepts rose 5%. Meanwhile, traffic to hamburger, sandwich and Asian quick-service concepts fell. Hamburger restaurants, which control 23% of all industry traffic, saw counts fall 3% in the quarter. Visits at sandwich and Asian quick-service concepts were down 1%.

“Although total traffic is flat, the visit growth in fast-casual, coffee/bagel/donuts and Mexican QSR shows that consumers still have an interest in going out to restaurants,” NPD Restaurant Industry Analyst Bonnie Riggs said.

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

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