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The UK foodservice sector is set for a couple of years of solid growth driven by an improving economy and key sporting events such as the Euros and the Olympics.

NPD Group has revised upwards its forecast for British out-of-home foodservice spend this year from £52.2bn to £53.5bn and to £54.7bn next year.

The forecast pick-up comes alongside the global information company’s predictions that the number of visits will increase 1.6% this year to 11.4 billion - slightly higher than the 1.5% it predicted this time last year - and a further 1.2% in 2017 to 11.5 billion.

Out-of-home foodservice visits grew 1.3% last year - the second consecutive year of growth, NPD said.

Quick-service coffee is expected to account for 656 million visits this year, rising to 673 million in 2017, while spend is forecast to increase to £2.3bn this year and £2.4bn next.

NPD was spot on with its 2015 forecast for quick-service coffee visits, which came in at 636 million. It was close, too, with its expenditure prediction. The figure came in at £2.17bn, slightly above its £2.16bn forecast.

It said the trend underlined the increasing fondness of British consumers for speciality coffee and their growing willingness to treat themselves throughout the day.

NPD forecasts quick-service burger visits will climb from 1.05 billion this year to 1.09 billion - a 4% increase - and spend will edge up £2m to £4.6bn next year - up 4.7% on the forecast figure for 2016.

Cyril Lavenant, NPD director of foodservice for the UK, attributed the expected increase in visits this year to increasingly confident consumers and a potential further boost from the Euro Championships in France this summer and the Olympic Games in Rio.

“However, while 2017 will also see growth, it is likely that the pace will slow down. We do not see consumers increasing their spending in the foodservice sector any faster than this,” he said.

Casual dining, which accounted for a £4.7bn spend last year, is expected to reach £5.1bn in 2017 and visits are expected to grow 1.1%, up from a forecast 1.05 billion.