Lunchtime dining traffic continues to rise, according to NPD Group

New figures by NPD Group have revealed that foodservice visits at lunchtime have risen over the past 12 months.

In the year leading to March 2013, lunchtime traffic across Britain rose, even though the sub-sector had seen a sharp decline across 2011. The report further highlighted that quick-service restaurants were able to enjoy a much quicker recovery over pubs.

Industrial analysts have suggested that quick-service sites were able to pick up on business over the year because of their affordability, with the average spend at such outlets being £3.42, according to the report. This figure is £1 less than the total market average.

Last year saw breakfast being a strong theme, with early and mid-morning snacks having a major impact on lunchtime spend, but now it seems that more individuals are willing to spend money on their lunch, as wider economic forecasts become seemingly more positive.

Guy Fielding, director of business development for NPD Group, said: “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."

Not only do these figures point to a recovering economy, but this rising trend in lunchtime eating may boost part-time hospitality jobs during the day. Mr Fielding added that the market should be looked at carefully over the next few months as, with lunch being the next "day part" to recover from the economic slump, these trends may have a further impact on evening spending in restaurants.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hospitality employment solutions.