FOOD FOR THOUGHT
January 4, 2012
Restaurant Visits Across the Globe Generally Weak in Third Quarter, Reports NPD
We've just come off the holiday season. Did you eat out a lot last month? Or the month before? Do you recall which meals you were more likely to spend at a restaurant? I can remember most restaurant visits and, frankly, my job aside, that's not a good thing. It means I remember the occasions not only because of the experience but because we ate out fewer times this past six months. Maybe I'm unique, but the global facts and figures seem to reflect that all of us are making restaurant visits. Recently, a friend returned from a trip to Europe and expressed a bit of a disappointment in the food at a much anticipated (and well known) restaurant. It's situations like this that make us hold on a little tighter to our wallets. I'd rather have a great picnic than a pricey disappointment. I look forward to a real dining treat when I do go out. Menus I can make at home don't appeal to me. I also don't want to spend $20 for mac and cheese. Period. The same is true for oatmeal. But I like a great bottle of wine at a good price. I love fresh products and interesting spices and an inviting environment. I enjoy helping local restaurants and promising chefs. I want out tourism industry to thrive. That's why these numbers give us pause. Maybe the 4th quarter will be better.
Weak foodservice traffic in most countries around the world in the quarter ending September 2011, according to The NPD Group.
January 04, 2012
Low consumer confidence and the stressed global economy were reflected in the weak foodservice traffic in most countries around the world in the quarter ending September 2011, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. The growing or more stable domestic economies of Canada, China, and France encouraged more visits over last year, in contrast, Italy, with one of the more challenging economic environments, also experienced traffic gains in the quarter.
According to NPD’s CREST®, which tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States, restaurant traffic declines were steepest in Spain, due to persistent economic weakness, and Japan, which is still feeling the after effects of this year’s earthquake. Australia experienced traffic declines in the quarter in spite of a growing economy. China posted traffic gains of 19 percent over the same quarter last year.
“Although foodservice traffic in China experienced double-digit growth over last year, the country’s consumer confidence is not as strong as last year,” said Christina Ma, director, China foodservice. “Chinese consumers have become more careful about spending their money on foodservice visiting, and are increasingly selecting inexpensive foodservice channels, such as bakery/coffee shop and retail, and ordering less food and beverage items.”
According to NPD, foodservice chains continue to grow around the world and visits to independent foodservice concepts have stabilized and returned to growth in some countries. Lunch traffic appears to be growing in some of the stronger economies while breakfast, which is largely a non-core daypart outside of Italy and China, is growing in most markets. Visits during the supper daypart are also growing in most countries. Promotions are still important in attracting consumers to visit foodservice outlets.
“There still is a mixed bag of health and weakness across the global foodservice industry,” says Bob O’Brien, senior vice president of global foodservice at NPD. “While a few of the countries we track posted traffic gains, the news for the third quarter of this year remains disappointing.”
- NPD CREST will begin tracking foodservice usage in Mexico as a pilot in the first calendar quarter of 2012 and will issue a report mid-year.
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless.