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Coronavirus Takes a Bite out of Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Sales

To nobody’s surprise, the shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 took a toll on sales of foodservice equipment and supplies, resulting in a decline of 30.4% in the second quarter of 2020, per the Manufacturers’ Agents for the Foodservice Industry’s Business Barometer.

Reps project sales will decline 32.4% in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

Looking at sales by product segment, tabletop declined 62.9%, supplies 35.4%, furniture 28.1% and equipment 25.9%. Sales of disposables declined a modest 1.9%, thanks to a push in takeout and delivery as well as the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

On a regional basis, second quarter foodservice equipment and supplies sales declined by 43.2% in Canada, 30.6% in the south, 29.5% in the midwest, 27.6% in the northeast and 26.1% in the west. Reps project third quarter sales declines of a 36.2% in the northeast, 36.0% in the south, 35.0% in Canada, 30.5% in the midwest and 26.8% in the midwest.

Some ominous signs remain on the horizon. For example, 72% of reps report less quoting activity in the second quarter, which is actually 1% better than the previous quarter. Also, 64% of reps report less consultant activity in the second quarter, compared to 59% in the first quarter.