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CHICAGO — The state of the global restaurant industry in this year's third calendar quarter was a reflection of each geography's economy, according to recent foodservice market research from The NPD Group. Continuing economic struggles and negative consumer confidence in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain contributed to each respective area's traffic declines in the third quarter (July, August, and September) of 2012. It stayed flat in Japan and France, and declined in Italy and Spain, reports NPD, which tracks commercial foodservice usage in those countries.
"Although stable, the Japan restaurant industry isn't experiencing the growth it realized after the Great Eastern Earthquake in March 2011," said Kimiharu Satoh, director, NPD Japan Foodservice. "At that time, Japanese consumers were making efforts to consume goods and services to support the economy, but after a while this effort has faded away and as a result Japan experienced negative economic growth for the first time in five quarters."
A bright spot in the third quarter, in terms of traffic gains, is the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment, which is the largest foodservice segment in all countries except Japan, tracked by NPD. The QSR segment increased its share of total industry traffic in China, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. Another positive is the growth of morning meal visits in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom, and lunch traffic in developing country China, as well as the developed economies of France, and Japan.
"The global consensus seems to be that things aren't looking too optimistic," says Bob O'Brien, global senior vice president foodservice. "Consumer confidence is weak and whether it's concern for inflation in China, fatigue from propping the economy up in Japan, or continued high unemployment in Spain, consumers aren't exhibiting a great deal of optimism, and the foodservice markets around the world are lackluster as a result."