U.S. restaurant traffic increased by +1% in the second calendar quarter of 2013 compared to same quarter last year while consumer spending, driven primarily by average check growth, increased by +3%, according to The NPD Group, a global information company. NPD’s foodservice market research finds that despite growth in the April, May, June quarter, foodservice traffic is at the 2009 level of 15.7 billion for the quarter.
Visits to quick-service restaurants (QSR), which represent 78% of industry traffic, were up by +1%, according to NPD’s CREST, which every day tracks how U.S. consumers use restaurants. Casual dining traffic, after several consecutive quarters of declines, held steady in the quarter. Midscale/family dining restaurant traffic continued its history of traffic declines with a 2% decrease compared to same quarter last year. Fine dining/upscale hotel restaurants, which represent only 1% of total industry traffic, increased visits by 6%. Traffic to fast-casual restaurants, which fall under the quick-service segment, increased by 8% in the second quarter.
Breakfast/morning meal continued to post traffic growth in the second quarter with a gain of 3%. Lunch and supper remained flat while visits at p.m. snack were up 1% over same quarter last year.
“There were several bright spots in the industry in the second quarter, and certainly casual dining ending its cycle of traffic losses is one of them,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD Restaurant Industry Analyst. “Any gain in the current market is good news and keeps the industry steady.”