Foodservice Equipment Reports

NPD Forecasts Slower Traffic Growth During Coming Decade

The baby boomers strike again. NPD Group expects foodservice traffic to grow less than 1%, as baby boomers age and dine out less frequently over the next 10 years. Projected traffic growth will trail overall population growth, which is forecast at about 1.1%.

“The aging effect on the restaurant industry will be slightly negative because of aging baby boomers,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry analyst and author of a new NPD report, A Look Into the Future of Foodservice. “A greater share of visits will source to those 50 years and older in 2019,” she said, “but as consumers age, they become less frequent restaurant users. This means the restaurant industry will have heavier dependence on lighter buyers.”

The effect can be seen in the projected numbers. NPD forecasts total restaurant visits to rise 8% by 2019, an annual average growth rate of 0.8%. But per capita annual visits are projected to fall from 197.1 in ’09 to 191.5 in ’19. Per capita annual visits were 205.6 in ’04, by contrast. Total visits managed to grow only 2% from ’04 to ’09, an effect of the downturn in traffic that began in ’08.

Riggs also cited two other drags on traffic: the pronounced decline in dinner traffic that the recession has aggravated, as well as fewer women entering the workforce. On the other hand, breakfast and evening snack occasions have driven increased traffic.

“Forecasts are something to be worked against,” Riggs noted. “The future course can be altered.”

Related Articles

Retail Outlets Will Take Traffic Share From Restaurants Over The Next Decade, NPD Forecasts

Restaurant Traffic Flat In 2013, Reports NPD; 1% Growth Forecast For ’14

NPD Forecasts 1% Traffic Growth Again In 2016