Quick-service burger and gourmet-coffee chains are being credited with breaking a string of six consecutive quarters of flat or negative traffic growth for the overall foodservice industry.
Total foodservice traffic rose 1 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30, a reflection of the positive influence that quick-service burger and gourmet-coffee chains had on industry traffic, according to a report from global information company NPD Group.
The two QSR segments accounted for what NPD described as a “sizable percentage” of the traffic increase thanks in part to new marketing initiatives, special deals and new products, NPD reported. Deal-related traffic for those restaurant categories was up 7 percent in the period, the strongest gain in several quarters.
Excluding QSR burger and gourmet-coffee chains, foodservice traffic was flat but better than in the previous quarter, when traffic actually was negative, NPD said.
Fast-casual restaurants, which represent 8 percent of overall QSR traffic, also contributed to the uptick in foodservice visits in the quarter, with traffic climbing 8 percent compared with a year ago. Unit growth at fast-casual operators such as Panera and Chipotle drove traffic gains in the segment for the past several quarters, NPD said.