Competitor Strategies in Consumer Foodservice

April 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the global foodservice industry in the short term, while radically accelerating existing trends. Surging investment in delivery and online ordering has combined with massive new demand for prepared meals consumed at home. This briefing serves as a guide to the current state of play, whilst discussing a number of key strategies for the next five years.

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Key findings

Massive share gains for the largest chains

The collapse in eat-in sales during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic revealed significant advantages for chains, which were able to turn to drive-through, delivery and takeaway to a much greater degree than the average independent.

Emerging versus developed market split suggests future challenges

Emerging markets remain far less important to the largest foodservice chains than they are for consumer goods manufacturers like Unilever or Nestlé.

Era of “delivery as a utility” portends a vast shift in dining habits

As more capital pours into delivery as a service, encompassing more and more businesses, the concept of delivery as a utility is starting to form – no longer a differentiator, but a necessary component of most businesses, like water or power or payment services.

Grocery stores and restaurants increasingly target the same occasions

Going forward, the distinction between grocery and foodservice is expected to blur further, as operators in both channels increasingly fulfil meal demand via delivery. Over time, this delivery meal fulfilment channel is expected to account for a growing portion of all food and drink demand.

Delivery era means brands must adapt foodservice strategies

The strategies used to drive high-margin drinks and food sales via the on-trade, particularly limited-service restaurants, will face real pressure in the delivery era, as consumers demand new options.


Key findings


Packaged food spending soars ahead of global restaurant sales in 2020
Massive share gains for the largest chains
McDonald’s and others see sales contraction but share gains
Companies at a glance
Industry dependence
Consumers in lockdown drive massive spike in delivery spending
Granularity of growth
Emerging vs developed split suggests future challenges
Chinese companies lead growth as domestic demand recovers
China exposure and to-go formats offer advantages to chains


Era of “delivery as a utility” portends a vast shift in dining habits
Ghost kitchen strategies continue to expand and evolve
Rebel Foods expands third party Launcher programme
Wow Bao launches national ghost kitchen programme
Delivery era drives new formats and partnerships
Grocery stores and restaurants increasingly target the same occasions
Delivery era means product brands must adapt foodservice strategies
Replicating the dining out experience at home


Key takeaways


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