—Foodservice Around the World Post Modest Gains
Chicago, April 17, 2012 ─ With minimal assist from the economy, Canadians made over 6.6 billion visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets in 2011, a 3 percent increase compared to prior year, reports The NPD Group, a leading market research company. Foodservice spending reached an all-time high of $47.6 billion, a four percent gain over last year, according to NPD’s CREST®, which continually tracks Canadians’ use of restaurants.
Quick service restaurant (QSR) traffic was one of the pockets of growth that was evident during the fall 2011 quarter, signaling momentum moving into 2012, NPD’s CREST reports.
QSR traffic increased by 5% percent compared to the fall quarter last year, with many QSR categories (e.g. QSR hamburger) and chains contributing. In addition to QSR visits, growth was spread across all day parts. Supper and lunch posted the best gains on weekends, an indication of rebound for socially-driven visits. The street business – independent restaurants – is coming back, mainly in the casual dining segment.
“Economic conditions in Canada didn’t do much to strengthen the environment for foodservice during the fall period, but as is often the case, foodservice begins to improve prior to any economic recovery,” says Robert Carter, executive director, Canada foodservice. “Some challenges still remain for the country’s foodservice industry, but the hope is that the current positive trend in foodservice visits is a bellwether for better times ahead.”
There was also a glimmer of recovery for the global foodservice markets in the fourth quarter of last year. NPD’s CREST®, which tracks, in addition to Canada, commercial foodservice usage in Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States, reports that China led the world with a 15 percent increase in foodservice visits and 22 percent increase in spending over same quarter last year. Germany, with the most robust economy, grew slightly less than Canada, due to a boost in eater check.