Foodservice Equipment Reports

Technomic Boosts 2015 Forecast Of U.S. Operator Sales

After years of sluggish growth, the U.S. foodservice market has finally broken out of the doldrums. Strong jobs growth and the dramatic drop in energy prices in the second half of 2014 has helped push consumer confidence to post-recession levels. One benefit has been strong growth in sales and traffic in the U.S. foodservice market.

Technomic Inc., the Chicago-based foodservice firm, pushed its forecast for nominal sales growth of all foodservice (including institutional segments) to 5.2% for 2015. The new 2015 forecast is 1.3 points higher than the firm’s last revision in January this year. Factoring out a forecast increase in menu prices of 3% this year, real growth is expected to hit 2.3%. The preliminary forecast for 2016, released in May during the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, is for another good year, with nominal growth pegged at 4.9% and real growth at 2.5%.

A big beneficiary of the improved economic environment in the U.S. has been full-service casual-dining restaurants. After years of declining traffic counts and stagnant sales, the segment is forecast to grow 5.6% this year, helping drive growth of the entire full-service restaurant sector, which also includes mid-scale concepts and the tiny fine-dining segment, to 5.6% for the year. On the giant quick-service restaurant side, the fast-casual segment—with projected sales gains of 11.2%—is far outperforming traditional quick-service, which is projected to grow 4%.

In the “Beyond Restaurants” segments, supermarket foodservice, lodging, senior-living facilities and social caterers are growing well above trend this year and next.

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