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Britain’s Restaurant Traffic Bucks Softness of Other Economies

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CHICAGO — Britain's restaurant and foodservice industry benefited from the area's glorious weather with strong visit and spending growth in the third quarter. Visits to and spending at foodservice outlets in Great Britain increased by two percent in the calendar quarter ending September 2013 compared to same quarter year ago, reports NPD's Crest research, a foodservice survey that continually tracks commercial foodservice usage in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States. 

Other countries tracked by NPD's Crest did not fare as well as Great Britain in the quarter.  Although consumer spending at foodservice outlets was up in most countries except for Italy and Spain, traffic was flat in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and U.S.; and down in Italy, Spain, and Japan. China, which posted strong visit gains early in 2013, continued its relatively weaker growth in the quarter with a 1 percent traffic gain and 4 percent consumer spending increase. 

Eater Check by country

Lunch is the driving daypart in nearly every country tracked by NPD's CREST foodservice market research. In spite of the generally lackluster performance outside of Great Britain, lunch traffic nudged up in seven of the ten countries monitored. The weak performance of the full service restaurant segment in the U.S. is evident in the lunch daypart visit declines there. The opposite is true for Canada, where the full service segment was the only foodservice segment to post growth in the quarter, which helped to lift the main meal dayparts.

"Looking back at the past 12 months, visits to pubs in the UK have increased but there is no one trend driving the UK foodservice market at the moment," says Cyril Lavenant, director of foodservice, Great Britain, at NPD.  "Instead it is a complex picture by daypart, consumer segment and category. Foodservice operators really do need to understand how consumers are behaving across the sector and how that is changing quarter by quarter if they are to tap into the growth areas, and address those that are static or in decline."

"The global foodservice market continued to sputter through Q3 2013 backed by an uneven global economy," says Bob O'Brien, global senior vice president foodservice. "Still, there are some positives in the industry, like improvement in the global lunch market and at independent restaurants, that provide signs of recovery."

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