At a special session for its Foodservice Planning Program, Technomic shared its latest expectations for foodservice industry performance, by segment, through 2014. Since releasing its last forecast in January 2013, the firm has seen slight slippage in 2013 growth expectations for the overall industry, from a nominal 3.9 percent (in January) to 3.8 percent (current projections). But some improvement is expected over the longer term, with 2014 industry growth forecasted at 4.1 percent.
“In general, foodservice is still facing headwinds that are tempering consumers’ willingness to eat out,” explains Joe Pawlak, Technomic vice president. “Slow employment gains and stagnant disposable personal income are a drag on growth. Coupled with the January tax holiday expiration and pending government spending cuts from sequestration, consumers are more cautious about their own discretionary spending.”
Pawlak noted that better foodservice growth is anticipated in 2014, but consumer uncertainty surrounding their share of costs resulting from implementation of the Affordable Care Act are expected to moderate industry results.
There are bright spots in select foodservice segments. Pawlak noted that sales growth for independent restaurants has been outpacing chains. College and university, hospital, senior living, lodging, and supermarket foodservice are all expected to outperform restaurants and bars this year and in 2014.