Contract ops to lead sales growth, NRA says

Forecast pegs next year’s top-line increase for outsourced healthcare foodservice at 5.5%, or 2.1% in inflation-adjusted or “real” terms.

Dec. 13—Outsourced foodservice operations in hospitals and nursing homes will enjoy the biggest sales gains in onsite foodservice during 2013, closely followed by contract-managed cafeterias inside factories, according to a National Restaurant Association forecast.

The trade group’s just-released 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast pegs next year’s top-line increase for outsourced healthcare foodservice operations at 5.5%, or 2.1% in inflation-adjusted or “real” terms.

In contrast, the NRA predicts a 4.5% rise in revenues for self-operated hospital and long-term-care foodservice facilities, or a 0.5% real uptick. A 2.6% nominal increase and a real decline of 0.4% are forecast for nursing-home foodservices.

The NRA expects the contractor-run cafeterias of manufacturing and industrial plants to share a 5.2% sales rise, for real growth of 2.3%. The group foresees virtually no change in real sales for self-operated employee-feeding operations, though it anticipates a 3.7% nominal gain from price increases.

The NRA is forecasting a 2.8% rise in sales at white-collar feeding facilities managed by contractors, but it predicts that virtually all of that increase will come from price increases rather than traffic gains. Without the benefits of pricing, sales within the segment would decline, according to the NRA.

Overall, the association anticipates a 4% increase in nominal sales for what it calls the managed services sector, which it differentiates from non-commercial foodservices. Self-operated onsite facilities are included in the latter category, along with food and drink outlets in transportation and recreation.

The association forecast a 3.8% nominal sales gain and a 0.8% real rise for the U.S. foodservice industry as a whole in 2013.

It is also predicting a 4.2% rise in wholesale food costs, or nearly double the increase clocked in 2012.