From Elissa Elan of Nation's Restaurant News
: Restaurant industry guest traffic fell 2.6 percent for
the quarter ended May 31, the largest decline since 1981, as consumers
continued to cut spending and families with children reduced dining
out, a report by market research firm The NPD Group said Monday.
The traffic decline is compared with an increase of 0.5 percent during the same quarter a year earlier, NPD officials said.
newest report blamed the restaurant traffic decline mostly on reduced
visits among parties with children, which typically represents
one-third of all industry traffic. NPD’s Consumer Reports on Eating
Share Trends said that more than half of the industry’s decline in the
May quarter could be traced to fewer dinner visits from parties with
children at restaurants throughout all industry segments. Restaurant
visits by adults in households without children remained stable in the
May quarter, NPD said.
Rising unemployment also took its toll on consumer spending, the report showed.
commercial foodservice industry has been struggling since last fall,
and it appears that as unemployment increases the struggle is
increasing,” said Arnie Schwartz, president of U.S. foodservice for NPD.
to the report, guest traffic was down 2 percent at quick-serve
restaurants, 4 percent at casual dinnerhouses and 6 percent at
The biggest decline was
felt during the dinner daypart, where most consumers pulled back on
visits to both quick-service and full-service restaurants, the report
indicated. Breakfast and lunch also declined, but those served at
quick-service outlets fared better than their full-service counterparts.
forward, Schwartz said that operators that utilize coupons, offer value
meal deals and re-engineer menus will have better luck in attracting
“It’s going to take continued innovation,
creativity and perseverance to capture share in a market where the pie
may not be growing in the near term,” he said.
the May-ended quarter, NPD said that restaurant industry check averages
rose 2 percent, compared with the same quarter last year, suggesting
that diners are willing to spend about the same on a restaurant meal as
in the past, but are reducing the number of times they do it. The
higher check average was unable to offset the steep decline in foot
traffic, so total restaurant spending fell 1 percent across the
industry, NPD said. Nations Restaurant News