Australia, Canada, and China rang in 2013 with an increase in foodservice consumer visits as other countries across the globe experienced weak traffic growth in the first quarter of the year, according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. The weakness in visits to restaurants and other foodservice outlets experienced in Continental Europe the last quarter of 2012 continued into the first quarter of this year and was augmented with soft traffic in North America and Japan, 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.
Australia, Canada, and China were the only three countries that posted traffic growth in the first quarter out of the ten countries tracked by NPD’s global foodservice market research. Even with foodservice traffic gains, China reported the weakest traffic and check growth since CREST China began tracking the country’s foodservice industry in 2010. There were foodservice spending gains in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, U.S., and declines in France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
“Australians entered the New Year with an optimistic attitude that was reflected in their increased visits to and spending at foodservice outlets,” says Ciara Clancy, director, NPD foodservice, Australia. “Despite this good news, concerns around job security still remains with ongoing labor market weaknesses, all of which may raise consumer concern and deflate optimism, resulting in less use of foodservice in subsequent quarters.”
“Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, recently announced that Europe’s recession was the longest since the creation of the single currency in 1999, and the foodservice sector has certainly felt the effects of it,” says Bob O’Brien, global senior vice president foodservice.