Sales of foodservice equipment and supplies increased 17.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in the previous year, per data from the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry Business Barometer. Sales performance for the quarter was only .6% less than what MAFSI members had originally projected.
Breaking down the sales by product category, tabletop items increased by 25.6%, supply items by 18.3%, equipment by 16.7% and furniture by 9.0%. Breaking down sales by region, Canada led the way with a gain of 24.2%. In the U.S. the Midwest grew by 18.7%, the Northeast by 18.2%, the South by 12.8%, and the West by 11.2%.
Looking ahead, MAFSI member companies forecast 16.8% growth for the first quarter of 2022. MAFSI attributes what it describes as a “healthy increase” to a number of factors including high inflation, advanced placement of future orders to beat price increases and long lead times, and increased demand due to the normalization of restaurant dining and return to workspaces.
MAFSI members also report an uptick in two key activities. Specifically, 58% of reps report an increase in quoting activity compared to 32% who report no change in quoting activity between the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Only 10% report a decline in reporting activity between the third and fourth quarters of 2021. In addition, 49% of reps report an increase in consultant activity between the third and fourth quarter of 2021 and 42% report no change in this metric. Only 10% of reps report a decrease in consultant activity between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.