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Winter Weather Snows Under Foodservice Sales

Technomic revises 2014 forecast down.

 The harsh winter weather that's walloped most of the country in recent weeks is having a negative impact on foodservice industry sales. In fact, Chicago-based Technomic now projects foodservice industry sales will grow at a rate of 2.5 percent to 3 percent, down from the research firm's previous projection of 3.5 percent to 4 percent.

Technomic reports the harsh weather conditions translate into foodservice sales being down 3 percent to 4 percent nationally and down 7 percent to 8 percent in weather-affected markets in January and February.

In fact, 40 percent of foodservice operators nationally indicate that the weather since January 1 has had a negative impact on sales. That figure rises in specific geographic regions, with 53 percent of operators in New England and 49 percent in Mid-Atlantic states reporting that the weather has had a negative effect on business. Further research shows many people across the country have been constrained by the weather, with 60 percent of consumers stating that the weather has been a drag on their normal activities and lifestyle. Not surprisingly, residents of the Northeast (82 percent) and the Mid-Atlantic (76 percent) have been most affected.

"We expect that consumers will enthusiastically return to foodservice in the spring, but January and February have to be considered lost dining occasions for foodservice operators," said Wade Hanson, Technomic principal.