Fast Casual: Restaurant Business Hits Standstill in First Half of 2016
Fast Casual: Restaurant Business Hits Standstill in First Half of 2016

The fast casual sector is experiencing the most significant slowdown when it comes to growth.

Recent data from the NPD group reveals that growth for the restaurant industry for the first half of this year has remained flat.

“Contributing to the stalled visit growth are consumers’ uncertainties about current and future economic conditions,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group’s restaurant industry analyst. “"These uncertainties have put a damper on overall consumer spending. Compounding the situation for the restaurant industry is the decline in food at home inflation while at the same time restaurant operators have been increasing menu prices."

According to Fast Casual, the most concerning aspect of the standstill is that the breakneck speed of growth in the fast casual sector for the last few years is also slowing this year. Growth was flat this quarter in that sector, whereas this time last year overall fast casual traffic was up two percent.

But Riggs believes that not all hope is lost.

"The good news in all of this is that consumers made 61.3 billion restaurant visits this past year," said Riggs. "They are not giving up dining out at restaurants and other food service outlets. It’s true that in this flat market it’s a battle for visit share but there are restaurants that are winning. The winning operators focus on their customers’ needs and deliver on them."

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