After a rough start to the year, sales of foodservice equipment and supplies seem poised for a big comeback, according to the latest data from the Manufacturers Agents’ Association for the Foodservice Industry.
During the first quarter of 2021, sales of foodservice equipment and supplies declined 2.1%, per the latest MAFSI Business Barometer. While still down, this represents a significant improvement compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 when MAFSI members reported a 19.4% decline in sales of foodservice equipment and supplies. And this significantly beats reps’ forecast of a 18.9% sales decline for the first quarter of 2021.
Looking at sales performance by product category, furniture grew by 0.3%, while equipment declined by 1.1%, supply items dipped by 3.9%, and tabletop dropped by 9.7%. On a regional basis, sales varied, too, due to a variety of factors. Sales in the West declined 9.8% and the Midwest dipped 7.7%. In contrast, sales in the Northeast grew 0.3% and Canada grew by 2.7% and the South saw sales increase by 5.8%.
The forecast for the second quarter of 2021 calls for even sunnier skies for those selling foodservice equipment and supplies. Reps project a 21.4% sales increase in Canada, 15.6% in the West, 15.3% in the Northeast and Midwest as well as 14.6% in the South.
Supporting this positive outlook is the fact that 81% of reps report an increase in quoting activity and 56% say they are experiencing more activity among foodservice designers.
Of course, growth of this magnitude does not come without its own set of challenges. For example, the industry’s continued supply chain issues will affect its ability to fully rebound in the short term.