CHICAGO — The global food service market was weak in the third quarter of 2009 despite some signs of overall economic recovery, according to market researcher The NPD Group.

“The global food service business in the third quarter of this year shows how far the global economy has to come before it can again be described as healthy,” said Bob O’Brien, senior vice-president of global food service at NPD. “While many of the countries we track had relatively good quarters across their whole economies, the news for the food service market is largely disappointing, although there is growth in some segments or some dayparts in every market except the United States.”

Restaurant traffic counts declined in the third quarter across Europe with the biggest declines in Spain and the United Kingdom. Japan and the United States also had steep declines during the quarter. Canada was the only country to increase food service visits, but the country also posted a flat average eater check.