The improvement at supper may reflect some easing in unemployment, a modest improvement in consumer confidence as well as a release of pent up demand during the periods reported.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) June 27, 2011
After several years of traffic declines, visits to restaurants at supper increased over the last three quarters, according to foodservice market research from The NPD Group, a leading market research company.
Supper visits increased 2 percent and 1 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2010, respectively, and increased 2 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to NPD’s CREST® service, which continually tracks consumer use of foodservice outlets. Quick service restaurants, which represent 78 percent of total industry traffic, drove the growth at supper, while visits at midscale and casual dining remained weak.
“The improvement at supper may reflect some easing in unemployment, a modest improvement in consumer confidence as well as a release of pent up demand during the periods reported,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “I also believe that rising food costs in-home have narrowed the gap between the price of food at-home and a restaurant meal.”
In addition to the traffic growth at supper, after eight consecutive quarters of traffic decline, customer counts at commercial restaurants started to improve in the third and fourth quarters of 2010 over the same quarters a year ago, and ended the first quarter of 2011 flat. Weekend visits recovered across all dayparts and families with kids have been returning to restaurant over the last six months. Visits to quick service restaurants were up 1 percent compared to a year ago.
“There continues to be areas of weakness in the industry, but the industry did pick up in the last few prior quarters. It remains to be seen, however, if we’ll be able to sustain the improvements given the current economic volatility,” says Riggs. “All the reasons consumers go to restaurants — convenience, varied selections, someone else doing the cooking — are still valid and could continue to drive the industry’s improvement.”
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For further information visit http://www.restaurantindustrytrends.com