A surge in expense-account dining during the third quarter indicates the restaurant industry could see a double-digit jump this year in year-end corporate party sales, according to a new holiday forecast.
“All signs indicate that companies are likely to book more events to celebrate customers and bring employees together this December,” said Vic Macchio, CEO of the Dinova business-to-restaurant referral service. “We project December spending by corporations on meals and entertainment to increase 8 to 11 percent over last year.” That compares with a 9 percent year-over-year increase in December 2014, according to the firm.
The forecast is based on strong corporate-dining sales during the July-through-September period, according to Dinova. It clocked a 9.7 percent increase in expense-account spending in restaurants during the quarter, with 5.8 points of the rise coming from stepped-up traffic.
“The healthy business segment is not only outperforming the overall market, but clearly compensating for lackluster results in consumer dining segments,” said Macchio.
His company serves as a middleman between companies looking for volume discounts and restaurants that serve the corporate market.