The years 2020 and 2021 are tough times for the restaurant industry. Between the confinements, curfews and the introduction of the health pass, restaurant owners are seeing their business undermined. The French are getting into the habit of doing things differently and going out to lunch or dinner less. Against the backdrop of the health crisis, what are the key figures for the restaurant industry in 2021?
Before covid, 2019 was a positive year for the restaurant market:
The industry was doing very well and was poised for a good future, but that was without the arrival of covid. In 2021, the figures have changed and so has the way the French eat.
According to a recent analysis by NPD Group, the US market research firm revealed several key figures.
According to a study by Food Service Vision :
However, some men and women in the restaurant industry are resisting and trying to find solutions, adapt and reinvent themselves to remain resilient.
Eating out restaurants are the ones most affected by the health crisis. They will lose 50% of their attendance and turnover by 2020. Some of them have organized themselves to offer their take-away menu anyway. French people who did not want to cook for themselves or who wanted a home-cooked meal chose this solution. Takeaway sales have, in effect, minimized the loss to restaurateurs. By doubling its market share in the tabletop restaurant channel, it was 15% in 2019 to 30% in 2020.
The fast-food industry has been able to take advantage of this situation. It only lost a quarter of its turnover and visits. This food category is gaining 7 points of market share and accounts for 43% of the total out-of-home restaurant attendance (36% in 2019).
Delivery and drive-through increased by 25% in spending and visits. According to the NPD Group, fast food restaurants have a two-thirds share of the drive-through market. They manage to get through the period with less hassle, as this method of food retrieval is completely adapted to the covid: distancing, very little contact, no need to wear a mask, etc.
This new way of consuming food from home has also been extremely positive for ghost kitchens. These are restaurants that do not have a reception area in the dining room and are dedicated to home sales. These structures are possible thanks to delivery companies like Deliveroo or UberEats. They too are the big winners in the health crisis.
While noticeable efforts had been made in the restaurant sector, there has been a backtracking on the use of plastic and single-use packaging.
Hygiene is becoming even more of a priority for catering professionals today. This concerns the customers, but also the kitchen and service teams. From now on, training will be essential in safety and hygiene. Transparency will be the order of the day, it is increasingly necessary to reassure the customer and to show that the barriers and other obligations are being respected.
Consumers are increasingly turning to local food. They are looking for food based on the use of local products and want to know the origin of what they eat. This seems to suit this time of year, as it is easier for cooks and restaurant managers to source their supplies as close as possible to be less dependent on distance constraints in deliveries and stock-outs.
The other winners in 2021 will be the food industry. Bakeries, for example, have never seen a drop in traffic. This proves that restaurants need to diversify their business to remain as resilient as possible and adapt to change. Take-away sales with packed lunches, the creation of a grocery store, click & collect, and home cooking are all avenues of reflection for survival in a sector largely impacted by the crisis of 2021.