After two years of substantial decline, restaurant lunch performance is
expected to regain some ground in 2011, according to a new U.S. food
service lunch trends report from Packaged Facts.
spending among U.S. consumers reached $119 billion in 2008 but dropped
4% last year, and is expected to decline by another 3% this year to $112
billion, PF reports. However, a 1.8% partial rebound to $114 billion is
projected for 2011.
While some economic recovery is factored in,
the prospects for increased consumer spending on restaurant lunches (or
eating out in general) are dim for the near future.
to reviving lunch sales growth in the near term include unemployment's
effect on work-driven restaurant routines, "bargain-minded consumers who
weigh the cost of a bagged lunch against the indulgence of eating out,
and an industry environment in which players are chasing foot traffic at
the expense of guest checks through the extreme push of value meal
deals," sums up Packaged Facts publisher Don Montuori.
thanks to discretionary spending cutbacks and the expectations created
by value deals, limited-service formats now account for nearly 75% of
all lunch sales, and price sensitivity appears to be the trend across
income groups. Packaged Facts' own recent consumer survey found that
interest in lunchtime meals priced under $5 and under $10 is stable
across household income brackets. (Overall, about 35% of consumers cite a
meal priced at under $5 -- and about 31% cite a meal priced at under
$10 -- as influencing their choice of restaurants for lunch.)