If it wasn’t rainy, cloudy weather that kept foodservice customers away throughout much of Europe in the April, May, and June quarter, it was economic concerns that did, reports The NPD Group, a market research company. Other parts of the world fared much or a bit better than Europe; Canada, China, and the United States continued to show traffic gains and visits were stable in Australia and Japan in the second quarter of 2012, 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.
Visits to major restaurant chains increased in the quarter in all countries NPD’s CREST tracks except France and Spain. Small chains and independents showed some traffic gains in Canada, France, and China but continued to struggle with traffic declines in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Even with this being the Queen’s Jubilee Year and the Olympics, foodservice traffic in the U.K. hasn’t returned to growth,” said Guy Fielding, NPD Foodservice Director, United Kingdom. “Negative consumer confidence and the relentless cold and wet weather [the wettest June on record in the U.K.] didn’t help the situation.”
Meanwhile, in China consumers continued to increase their use of commercial foodservice in the second quarter. Foodservice visits in China increased by 13% in the second quarter of the year, according to NPD’s CREST. Household penetration and visit frequency pulled the traffic increase across all dayparts and channels. Chinese consumers did, however, monitor their spending in light of increasing food costs and made more use of combo meals and other deals.
“Although China’s GDP growth rate is slowing down compared to last year, it is still keeping at a relative high level, and inflation continues to go down from last summer, all of which encourages Chinese consumers to increase their use of commercial foodservice,” said Christina Ma, NPD Foodservice Director in China.