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In all the time NPD has been conducting CREST consumer foodservice tracking in Japan, we have watched the market eddy up and down roughly with the variance of the country's economic performance. A couple of years ago, just when I was thinking that the foodservice industry in Japan was generating some momentum, the country was smacked with the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami along with rolling brown outs and food scares in the aftermath.
Well I'm pleased to report that the second quarter of this year (2013) was the strongest quarter (outside of the earthquake “bounce back”) for Japan’s foodservice industry that we’ve recorded since what the Japanese refer to as the “Lehman Crisis.” And if you look at the chart below you can see that average eater check NEVER goes up, mostly it has gone down and down and down in the past several years.
There was a big boost in check in the first quarter of this year as the stock market reached a five-year high, the yen fell back to ¥100 to the US dollar and employers were inspired to increase wages across-the-board. The fact that eater checks held flat in Q2 as traffic grew is a sign of unusual health in Japan. Fingers crossed for more.