Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) are set to see 2% growth in year-on-year sales for the next three years, thanks to a rise in lunch traffic among British consumers.
That's the prediction from market research firm NPD Group, which expects the year-on-year increases in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015.
NPD said that its data from the year ending March 2009 to the year ending March 2013 showed that the out-of-home foodservice market had seen a recent improvement. While it dipped sharply from March 2011 to March 2012, total out-of-home lunch visits for the 12 months to March 2013 showed a clear year-on-year improvement.
The Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) segment has been the early recipient of trade returning to lunch, although the bounce back for pubs has been slower.
The reason why QSR appeared to be recovering faster than pubs within the lunch segment was because QSR is cheaper than other channels, with and average spend of £3.42 at QSR outlets for the year ending March 2013, compared to a total market average of £4.46, according to NPD.
Guy Fielding, director of business development for the NPD group, said: "Breakfast was a strong theme in 2012 and we saw breakfast and mid-morning snacks taking a bite from lunchtime spend and creating a ‘mid-day dip'. So a clear casualty during the recession, so far as the British foodservice industry is concerned, was the lunchtime occasion. We are now watching lunch closely as we expect this to be the next ‘day part' to start to recover from the recessionary slump.
"Lunch does provide a useful clue to how consumers feel about the economy and their willingness to spend. Lunch is typically the first eating-out-of-home occasion to be ‘sacrificed' to in-home/lunchbox eating. When money is tight, consumers will understandably make their own lunch. But when they feel they have a little more cash, they start buying again."
"Consumers are attracted by the clear value proposition that QSR offers. And, when the economy is down, consumers turn to the familiar. People know what they're getting for their money with the major QSR brands so those outlets offering value lunchtime options have been benefitting."