Sales of foodservice equipment and supplies increased 15.2% in the first quarter of 2022, per the latest data from the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry.
While still solid growth, this is 1.6% less than what MAFSI members forecast for the organization’s business barometer. And it represents a 2.1% decline from the gain posted in the fourth quarter of 2021. Looking ahead to the second quarter of 2022, reps projected foodservice equipment and supplies sales would increase by 13.2%.
Breaking down first quarter 2022 sales by product category, tabletop increased 21.5%, supplies 17.9%, equipment 14.8% and furniture 7.7%. Looking at first-quarter results by region, the Northeast saw sales grow 18.9%, Canada 17.1%, the South 15.8%, the Midwest 15.7%, and the West 8.2%.
In addition, 40% of reps report an increase in consultant activity in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. This is a 9% decline in consultant activity from the previous reporting period. Also, 57% of reps reported an increase in quoting activity during the first quarter of 2022, which is consistent with the previous period. Only 9% of reps report a decline in quoting activities.
“As increasing supply is gradually catching up somewhat to slowing demand, lead times have begun to show some improvement. Time will tell as to just how “elastic” the demand is for product at current price levels as the bottom line for commercial businesses has always been the return on invested capital i.e. profitability,” said MAFSI member Michael Posternak of PBAC & Associates, as part of the study’s executive summary. “There is a high level of uncertainty in the marketplace and in the overall economy in general as we deal with record gasoline prices, escalating food prices, rising interest rates, an ongoing war in Ukraine, all while Covid remains an ongoing threat. Much talk at the National Restaurant Association Show dealt with the problems of factory labor shortages. With all these factors in play at the same time, the best-case scenario appears to be for a soft landing.”