Although work and social lives in China returned to normal for most of the time in 2021, constant outbreaks of COVID-19 cases in different provinces and regions still knocked consumers’ confidence in going out, which hampered the recovery of full-service restaurants. Consumers continued some of the dining habits adopted in 2020, including seeking more time- and cost-efficient dining, which led to a shift from full-service restaurants to limited-service restaurants and home cooking.
Hotpot restaurants continued to be most popular within full-service restaurants in 2021, after their rapid recovery in 2020. This cuisine style is the first choice for group dining amongst many families and friends, due to its warm sharing atmosphere and ease of accommodating different people’s dining preferences.
2021 was a year of struggle for most chained Western-style full-service restaurants. Long-standing brands such as Pizza Hut experienced a hard time recovering to the pre-COVID-19 level of sales, whilst less resilient brands such as New Element and Hooters made the decision to bid farewell to the market.
The home delivery rate in full-service restaurants used to be the lowest amongst all types of consumer foodservice. However, the delivery rate surged during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
Western-style chained full-service restaurants in China were not very active in recent years compared with other types. Whilst independent Western restaurants may attract customers who care more about an authentic dining experience, chained restaurants are facing a pool of mass customers whose choices are more aligned with megatrends in foodservice.
Originating from the fashion industry, “national tide” refers to featuring the beauty of traditional Chinese culture, backed by awakened cultural self-confidence. The “national tide” expanded to various consumer goods industries in recent years and has also influenced consumer foodservice.
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FSR (full-service restaurants) encompasses all sit-down establishments where the focus is on food rather than on drink. FSR is characterized by table service and a relatively higher quality of food compared to quick-service units. Menus offer multiple selections and may include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Preparation of food products is often complex and involves multiple steps. NOTE: restaurants types catalogued in this segment refer to table-service only (outlets with a proper “full table service:” wait staff attending customers and taking orders at the tables). Outlets with “limited table service” are excluded from FSR. For example: outlets where customers order their food at the counter are excluded (even though the waiter will then bring the food at the table).See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Full-Service Restaurants research and analysis database.
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