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Restaurant Traffic Up 1% in Q2 But Less “Family Dining”

September 27, 2013

US restaurant traffic increased by 1% percent in the second calendar quarter of 2013 compared to same quarter last year while consumer spending, driven primarily by average check growth, increased by 3% over last year, according to The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY.

And while the 1% gain is a bit of good news for I&I companies, NPD finds that despite growth in the April-June quarter, foodservice traffic is at the 2009 level of 15.7 billion for the quarter.

Still, NPD analysts saw some positives in the data.

“There were several bright spots in the industry in the second quarter, and certainly casual dining ending its cycle of traffic losses is one of them,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “Any gain in the current market is good news and keeps the industry steady.”

Visits to quick service restaurants, which represent 78% of industry traffic, were up by 1%, according to NPD’s “Crest” Service, which tracks how US consumers use restaurants.  Casual dining traffic, after several consecutive quarters of declines, held steady in the quarter. Midscale/family dining restaurant traffic continued its history of traffic declines with a 2% decrease compared to same quarter last year. Fine dining/upscale hotel restaurants, which represent only 1% of total industry traffic, increased visits by +6%. Traffic to fast casual restaurants, which fall under the quick service segment, increased by 8% in the second quarter, according to NPD.

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