NPD Reports Moderate Spring Traffic for Foodservice Operators

There's both good and bad news when it comes to the way consumers are using restaurants, according to a new report released by the NPD Group, a Chicago-based market research company. First the bad news: consumer visits to restaurants declined by 1 percent this past spring, marking the eighth consecutive quarter where visits failed to grow. Now the good news: the rate of decline eased a little compared to last year's 3 percent decline for the same time frame. In addition, after four consecutive quarters of declines consumer spending at commercial foodservice this spring edged above a year ago spending with a 1 percent bump.

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Traffic was weakest at full service restaurants, visits to casual dining restaurants were down 2 percent and midscale restaurant traffic was down 3 percent. Traffic to quick service restaurants was stable in the second calendar quarter following five quarters of year-over-year declines, according to NPD's CREST report, which tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice outlets,

Traffic losses at non-commercial foodservice outlets also eased slightly in the second quarter, though traffic is still 6 percent less than last year's levels for the same quarter ending June 2010, according to NPD.

Breakfast is one area showing traffic growth this spring with visits up 1 percent at all restaurants, including 2 percent at QSRs, compared to last year's levels, according to NPD. Dinner continued to post weak traffic trends, down 2 percent for the spring quarter across all restaurant segments. Lunch visits declined by 2 percent.

NPD's forecast for the foodservice industry this year suggests traffic will stabilize in the third quarter and begin to recover in the fourth quarter.

Church’s Taps Bowie to Lead U.S. Operations

Church’s Chicken named John Bowie president of its U.S. operations. Bowie comes to Church’s from Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp., where he served as senior vice president of restaurant operations since 2007.

Prior to Friendly’s, Bowie spent 13 years with Wendy’s International, holding positions in marketing and general management.

In his new role, Bowie is responsible for overseeing all company and franchise restaurants operations.

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