Foodservice Equipment Reports

U.K. And Russia Posted Strong Traffic Gains First Quarter 2014

Improving economies and consumer confidence in Northern Europe helped push restaurant traffic higher, while the young Russian foodservice market continued to boom during the first quarter 2014, according to the latest data from The NPD Group’s CREST research. Harsh weather impeded traffic in the U.S. and Canada during the quarter.

Traffic rose 2% in the U.K. vs. the same quarter in 2013, while the German market saw traffic growth—a 1% gain—for the first time in several quarters. Mild weather was also a factor for those markets. “Germany’s foodservice market benefitted from an improving economy, increased income levels, moderate inflation and strengthened purchasing power among German consumers,” said Jochen Pinsker, NPD’s senior v.p.-foodservice, Europe.

In Russia, traffic surged 6%, following a 7% increase in the fourth quarter of last year. Traffic rose marginally in France but was down sharply again in the beleaguered Spanish and Italian markets.

The Chinese market saw a 1% increase in traffic. Traffic slowed through all of 2013 in China, with restaurant visits falling a dramatic 4% in the fourth quarter. Australia posted a 1% gain in traffic for the first quarter. Data was unavailable for Japan for the quarter.

“While there is a persistent drumbeat of more positive economic news in most developed markets, it’s hard to declare the industry has turned to a growth path,” said NPD’s Global Senior V.P. Bob O’Brien, noting in Europe northern markets are stabilizing while southern markets are “still shaky.”

The Rosemont, Ill.-based research practice also noted that while major chain traffic fell in the U.S., Canada and Japan during the quarter, “In every market tracked by NPD, chains are larger than they were in 2007 and independents are smaller.”

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