Foodservice equipment sales made a strong comeback in the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest MAFSI Business Barometer, but the newfound demand is leading to supply challenges.
Overall sales in Q1 of 2021 were down 2.1 percent compared to the mostly pre-COVID period of Q1/20, MAFSI reported. Although down year-over-year, the number represents an improvement from the 19.4 percent decline in Q4/20 and substantially beat the forecasted drop of 18.9 percent for Q1/21.
By category, furniture was up 0.3 percent, equipment down 1.1 percent, supply down 3.9 percent, and tabletop down 9.7 percent. The strength of sales differed by region as well. The south saw the biggest gains of 5.8 percent, while Canada grew 2.7 percent and the Northeast was up slightly at 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Midwest fell 7.7 percent and the west by 9.8 percent.
With sales beating expectations, 81 percent of reps reported that they are quoting more and 56 percent are seeing more specs. While that surge represents a wave of optimism for the industry, the supply chain is struggling to keep pace with the uptick in orders. MAFSI noted that issues include labor, supply, wage pressures, raw material shortages and transportation availability. This has led to price increases, advancing order placement, longer lead times, and shortages.