If it wasn't rainy, cloudy weather that kept foodservice customers away throughout much of Europe in the April, May and June quarter, it was economic concerns that did, reports market research company The NPD Group.
Other parts of the world fared better during Q2 2012; Canada, China and the United States continued to show traffic gains and visits were stable in Australia and Japan, according to NPD's CREST, which tracks commercial foodservice usage.
Visits to major restaurant chains increased in the quarter in all countries NPD's CREST tracks except France and Spain. Small chains and independents showed some traffic gains in Canada, France and China but continued to struggle with traffic declines in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
"Even with this being the Queen's Jubilee Year and the Olympics, foodservice traffic in the U.K. hasn't returned to growth," said Guy Fielding, NPD foodservice director, U.K. "Negative consumer confidence and the relentless cold and wet weather (the wettest June on record in the U.K.) didn't help the situation."
Even as the economy begins to slow in China, consumers continued to increase their use of commercial foodservice in the second quarter. Foodservice visits in China increased by 13 percent in Q2. Household penetration and visit frequency pulled the traffic increase across all dayparts and channels. Chinese consumers did, however, monitor their spending in light of increasing food costs and made more use of combo meals and other deals.
"Although China's GDP growth rate is slowing down compared to last year, it is still keeping at a relative high level, and inflation continues to go down from last summer, all of which encourages Chinese consumers to increase their use of commercial foodservice," said Christina Ma, NPD foodservice director in China. "Chinese consumers did, however, monitor their spending in light of increasing food costs and made more use of combo meals and other deals. Overall, however, the foodservice industry in China is growing."
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