MAFSI Denotes ‘Positive Signs’ in Q4 Barometer

At 8.7%, last quarter's foodservice sales came in above the association's forecasted levels.

Q42022 Barometer
This graph shows percentage changes of sales from the comparable quarter of the prior year through Q4 2022. Courtesy of MAFSI

MAFSI closed the books on 2022 and set expectations for Q1 of 2023 with the release of its latest Business Barometer on March 15.

Overall sales—comprising equipment, supply, tabletop and furniture—were up 8.7% in Q4 2022, compared to a year prior, but down .3% from the previous quarter. “While still above the forecast of 8%, it nevertheless was a continuation of the slower growth trend since the peak of Q2/21,” says the report summary.

Year-over-year, Q4 saw the largest sales increases in four equipment sub-categories: primary cooking equipment (10.5%), serving/holding equipment (10.2%), storage/handling equipment (9.5%) and refrigeration/ice machines (8%).

Consultant activity ticked up by 30%, 5% above the prior quarter, and quoting activity shot up from 29% in Q3 to 43% at year’s end—both changes MAFSI characterizes as “certainly a positive sign of future prospects.”

Expectations for Q1

Looking forward, MAFSI predicts a 7% quarterly sales increase in the current quarter, while also noting that the prediction dips below that of the past seven quarters, which ranged from forecasts of 20.7% (Q3 2021) to 8% (Q4 2022). However, the summary notes, “These numbers are still impressive as the comparables were very high in the early stages of the recovery.”

“Likely a healthy pipeline of projects will provide solid business in the first half, while rising interest rates and banking issues are apt to impact businesses more significantly in the second half,” concludes MAFSI.

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