Jonathan Maze | Jan 03, 2017 |

A restaurant industry that struggled with weak sales and traffic in 2016 shouldn’t expect much improvement in 2017, according to The NPD Group.

Chicago-based NPD expects restaurant industry traffic to remain stalled in 2017, the market research firm said Tuesday.

Traffic will also continue its long-term shift away from dine-in brands to quick-service restaurants. NPD expects traffic at quick-service restaurants to grow 1 percent this year, while traffic at dine-in locations will fall 2 percent. Currently, the majority of restaurant visits go to limited-service concepts.

“It’s just a battle for share,” Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst, told NRN. “More restaurants than visitors. And we need to keep in mind that competition is no longer just restaurant competitors. It has become a very fragmented market, and consumers have many options available to them to obtain a prepared meal.”

Industry growth, coupled with growth in prepared food offerings at convenience stores and grocers, has increased options available to consumers. But Americans are not increasing their dining at a corresponding rate. That’s putting pressure on restaurants to fight for their share of the pie.

NPD says that to succeed in 2017, restaurants will have to step up their game, get more innovative and use technology more strategically…Continue Reading