Alcohol Sales to Continue to Falter

November 2/Chicago/Business Wire -- Based on expectations of continued contraction in the restaurant and bar industry in 2010, foodservice consultancy Technomic has issued its forecast for beverage alcohol sales in those channels. Total alcohol sales in all away-from-home venues are expected to decline 2.5% in 2010. The biggest declines will be seen in casual full-service restaurants and high-end white tablecloth restaurants.

"Our outlook for alcohol sales is based upon continued weakness in restaurant traffic and further consumer frugality," stated David Henkes, vice president at Technomic and director of the firm's on-premise practice. "The overall share of visits that include alcohol has been on a downward slide for several quarters. While next year won't be quite as bad, we don't think we'll begin to see real growth in consumer spending on alcohol again until 2011."

For 2009, Technomic estimates that alcohol sales will end the year down 4.9%. This drop in sales is further supported by current data from the Technomic/GuestMetrics partnership which shows check averages are down 6% through the third quarter of 2009. On top of declining traffic, overall alcohol sales levels have fallen at a much steeper rate than the decline in food.

From the November 9, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition