Foodservice Equipment Reports

Despite Tough First Quarter, U.S. And Canadian Operators Quite Optimistic

Harsh winter weather drove down restaurant visits and sales in many areas of the U.S. and Canada during the first quarter, according to data from Technomic Inc., The NPD Group and the restaurant associations from both countries. But perhaps because of the tough winter, restaurant operators in both countries are quite optimistic about prospects for the second half of the year.

Nearly four in 10 operators in Canada reported same-store sales declines in the first quarter, according to Restaurants Canada’s Restaurant Outlook Survey. It was the most operators reporting a decline since the association began the tracking survey in the second quarter 2011. Only 30% of those responding said same-store sales increased.

In the U.S., the Current Situation component of the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index fell into contraction territory in January and February, before rebounding the following three months ending in May.

But many operators in both countries expect same-store sales to increase during the next six months. In Canada, 41% expect gains, while only 16% are anticipating same-store decreases, according to the Outlook Survey. In the U.S., according the NRA’s RPI data, 50% of those surveyed expect same-store sales to increase while only 8% foresee sales decreasing.

For the full Restaurant Outlook Survey from Restaurants Canada, click here: restaurantscanada.org/en/Research. For the NRA’s RPI, click here: restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/RPI.

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