Sluggish and weak were terms used throughout 2012 to describe the state of the foodservice industry across the globe and the last quarter proved these fitting descriptors, but on the brighter side increases in average checks brought spending up in many countries, reports The NPD Group, a global information company. Outside of China, most countries experienced traffic declines and no country posted an increase in visits greater than 1%, reports NPD’s CREST, which continually tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Foodservice visits in Australia were up 1% in the fourth quarter of 2012 while Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States finished the year with stable traffic counts. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain reported traffic declines in the quarter with Spain experiencing the steepest declines at 3%. Traffic increased by 8% in China, which reported on third quarter 2012 results. Foodservice spending increased in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States.
Lunch is generally the largest day part in all the countries tracked by NPD’s CREST foodservice market research. Lunch foodservice visits were flat in many of the countries with overall traffic declines, and China and Spain saw visit growth at the lunch day part.
“Without growth at lunch, it will be hard for any country’s foodservice market to be seen as on the path to health,” said Bob O’Brien, Global Senior Vice President Foodservice. “The relative health at lunch this quarter, even in the weak countries is a glimmer of hope for positive momentum in the coming quarters.”