The NPD Group predicts that there will be 83m more visits in the eat-out market in 2018, up 0.7% on 2017, and a further 93m in 2019, up 0.8% on 2018, despite stagnant wage growth and high inflation.
Delivery services are expected to continue to expand rapidly and are projected to grow an additional 101m visits and £656m consumer spend by 2019, up 16% and 17% respectively on 2017. This may encourage operators to adopt delivery as a route to market.
Other drivers include breakfast and lunch, which are expected to grow by 5.7% and 2.2% respectively in 2018, and 4.8% and 1.9% respectively in 2019, and burgers and casual dining.
While breakfast and lunch dayparts are expected to grow, dinner is predicted to do the opposite. Pressure on consumer spending will impact dinner visits, with 5% – or 134m – fewer dinner visits in 2019 than 2016.
Burgers and casual dining are also going to continue driving visits and spend. Casual dining chains are forecast to increase visits by 2.8% in 2018 and 2.7% in 2019. Full-service restaurants serving chicken will benefit from its ongoing popularity and from brand loyalty among millennials and other consumers, with such restaurants predicted to grow visits by 4.2% in 2018 and 4% in 2019.
However, such figures could be affected by whether the UK experiences a soft or hard Brexit. A hard Brexit would see lower visits growth at 0.5% for both 2018 and 2019. The difference between soft Brexit growth and hard Brexit growth is the equivalent of 60m visits, or £497m.
“Delivery shows no signs of running out of steam over the next two years and will help to bring home the bacon in Britain’s £55bn foodservice industry,” says Cyril Lavenant, UK foodservice director at the NPD Group.
“Burgers, casual dining, breakfast and lunch are also thriving and should help operators shrug off fragile consumer confidence, as well as inflation and stagnant wages, to achieve growth.
“We are especially bullish about burger chains and casual dining as these restaurants are meeting the consumer’s appetite for a contemporary experience that also offers a family-oriented treat.
“Regardless of a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit, any foodservice operator that invests for the future, and gives consumers the value, product quality and service quality they want, can look forward to growing their business in 2018 and 2019.”