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QSR Visits Increase in the U.S.

Overall, the global foodservice market showed a slight improvement during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Visits to quick-service restaurants, which represent the bulk of global foodservice traffic, were more a reflection of consumer sentiment than each country’s economic state in the fourth quarter of last year, reports The NPD Group.

For example, visits grew in Australia, Canada, China, Great Britain, and the United States where consumer confidence is higher or improving in spite of recovering, slowing or stabilizing economies, according to NPD. Traffic was flat in Japan, Russia and Spain, expressing decreasing consumer confidence in the weakened economies of Japan and Russia and increased consumer confidence as a result of an improving economy in Spain. High unemployment in France, a strengthening German economy, and negative consumer sentiment in a prolonged economic downturn in Italy contributed to quick service visit declines in these countries, according to NPD’s global foodservice market research.

Traffic gains to quick-service restaurants often came at the expense of losses in the number of visits at full-service restaurants in economically unstable countries as a result of consumers trading down to less expensive meals. Full-service visits dipped in Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Spain. Consumers in China, Germany, Great Britain and the U.S. increased their visits to full-service restaurants, reports NPD’s CREST® foodservice market research.

Overall, the last quarter of 2014 marked a slight turnabout for the global foodservice market. Total foodservice industry traffic was down in Canada while up in the U.S., a different scenario compared to the past few years. Great Britain remained the strongest European country, and traffic increased in Germany. Foodservice traffic was weak in the rest of continental Europe. China once again showed the strongest traffic growth as the market recovered from weak performance in 2013. Total foodservice traffic in Russia dropped by 2 percent due to a sharp decline in consumer confidence based on economic uncertainty.