TOKYO, JAPAN - Two months after natural disasters struck eastern Japan, Japanese consumers, reeling from fears of radiation, have sharply reduced their patronage of foodservice outlets.
The NPD Groupï¿½ï¿½s Japan CRESTï¿½, which tracks consumer use of foodservice outlets in Japan, reports a 17 percent drop in total industry traffic the two weeks after the March 11 disaster, contrasted with a 5 percent uptick in traffic two weeks prior, both compared to a year ago.
On- and off-premise visits both dropped, with on-premise visits down 20 percent and off-premise visits off 8 percent.
"March and early April is traditionally a prosperous period for the Japan foodservice industry. March ends the fiscal year for many companies with farewell and promotion parties held in conjunction, and many graduation parties are also planned at this time," said Mari Watanabe, director, The NPD Group Japan. "The severity of the quake and its aftermath as well as the timing has taken a strong toll on the Japan foodservice industry."
Watanabe said that in addition to consumers curtailing restaurant visits, restaurants were damaged and distribution was impaired, while power outages forced many operators to open shorter hours.