Global foodservice traffic declines in first quarter

by Bryan Salvage
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Consumers throughout the world cut back on visiting foodservice outlets in the first quarter of the year, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. Foodservice traffic declined in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the U.S., according to NPD’s CREST. In Canada, traffic was essentially flat.

Total spending at foodservice outlets fell in all of the reported countries with the exception of Canada and the U.S.

Excluding Japan, traffic counts declined at quick-service restaurants in the monitored countries. Full-service foodservice concepts posted virtually no growth around the world. Most foodservice daypart segments declined in nearly every country. Supper was weak everywhere but France. Germany and the U.S. experienced some growth in the morning meal daypart. The evening snack daypart showed increases or flat results in three countries.

It appears the economic downturn has affected consumers similarly, regardless of the country in which they live, said Bob O’Brien, senior vice president of global foodservice at NPD. "They are controlling their expenses by eating out less frequently, snacking less, cutting back on family visits, and when they do dine out, they are trading down to less expensive channels and carefully managing their check size," he added.

In May 2009, NPD released its first CREST report on the Chinese commercial foodservice market. In general, Chinese consumers rely on commercial foodservice for their meals/snacks consumption at least once every other day, and are more likely to patronize full-service concepts in the China’s metro cities and quick-service/vendor concepts in Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou and the country’s other capital cities.

"It appears this economic downturn has affected consumers similarly, regardless of the country in which they live," says Bob O’Brien, senior vice-president of global foodservice at NPD. "They are controlling their expenses by eating out less frequently, snacking less, cutting back on family visits, and when they do dine out, they are trading down to less expensive channels, and carefully managing their check size."

NPD released its first CREST report on the Chinese commercial foodservice market in May 2009. In general, NPD reports that Chinese consumers rely on commercial foodservice for their meals/snacks consumption at least once every other day, and are more likely to patronize full service concepts in the China’s metro cities and quick service/vendor concepts in Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and the country’s other capital cities.

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