Foodservice Equipment Reports

Nearly All Major Foodservice Markets Grew First Quarter 2016

Only one major global foodservice market saw traffic fall in the first quarter 2016, compared with the same quarter year prior, with consumer spending rising in every major market except Russia, according to the latest data from The NPD Group’s CREST consumer research.

NPD’s foodservice research practice, based near Chicago, tracks consumer foodservice behavior in 11 major global markets. The firm also announced it will add data on Brazil beginning with the second quarter 2016 and South Korea the first quarter of 2017.

“Positive reports from the global foodservice industry first emerged in the second quarter 2015, but after years of uneven growth around the world, it was hard to get too excited about it at the time,” said Bob O’Brien, senior v.p.-global foodservice at The NPD Group. “The news did get better throughout 2015, and culminated in this quarter’s broadly upbeat performance.”

Ironically, in light of the referendum in the UK to leave the European Union and its anticipated negative impact of the foodservice market there, visits rose more than 1% in the UK in the first quarter, with total spending up 3.3% versus the first quarter 2015. Traffic and sales also rose in Germany, total spend up 4%, and Spain, while traffic was flat but spending rose in France and Italy.

Traffic growth was particularly strong in China and Australia. With increases in check average, sales rose 4.7% in China versus the first quarter 2015. Perhaps surprisingly, visits also were up in Japan and Canada. First-quarter traffic was flat in the U.S., but with a nearly 2% increase in check average, consumer spending rose. Only Russia, battered by low energy prices, sanctions, and a sharp decline in the ruble, experienced a decline in visits, with traffic falling 2%. An increase in check average did not cover the difference. 

Visits to quick-service restaurants were up or flat in every single market, even Russia, and “was the driving engine behind the broad health of the industry,” NPD reported. QSR visit growth was flat in Japan, but a traffic gain at its dominant retail/convenience-store segment pushed overall visits higher. The European markets were also supported by visit gains to full-service restaurants, “a major shift from recent years.”

“Anything can happen,” O’Brien concluded about the future outlook, referencing the recent Brexit referendum, so “it is with cautious optimism we look forward to the remaining three quarters of 2016.”

Information on NPD’s global foodservice tracking data and the firm’s variety of other foodservice research products can be found at npd.com.

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