Full-service restaurants faced a bleak year during 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic and the official response to it had a very negative impact on the entire channel. The most important factor to take into consideration is the impact of the quarantine lockdown that was imposed upon the population of Switzerland for several weeks from the middle of March and which required all consumer foodservice outlets to close for on-trade service.
Full-service restaurants located in densely populated urban areas were hit harder than their counterparts in rural locations by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020. Indeed, full-service restaurants located in rural areas of the country, including the fairly remote and mountainous areas that tend to attract significant numbers of tourists, benefited from the inability of local people to travel abroad during the year due to the closure of Switzerland’s borders of the virtual shutdown of the international travel and tourism industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the various categories of full- service restaurants present in Switzerland, the big winners during 2020 tended to be those that serve traditional comfort food such as burgers, fried food and pizza. These have long been among the most popular consumer foodservice options among Swiss consumers and as the opportunities to dine out and socialise outside of the home diminished considerably over the course of 2020, consumers became increasingly averse to experimentation, sticking instead to the types of comfort foods that they are already familiar with.
During the forecast period, the recovery of full-service restaurants from the difficulties that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be slowly challenging. Dramatic changes in consumer behaviour that have been unfavourable for full-service restaurants are expected to become increasingly influential during the forecast period, with the shift towards working from home expected to have a particularly strong impact on the ability of full-service restaurants to generate revenues.
As mentioned above, full-service restaurants is expected to see an increase in delivery orders during the forecast period. In addition, demand for takeaway orders is also expected to rise, with those restaurants that are able to equip themselves to cater to the anticipated spike in takeaway orders also those most likely to thrive during the forecast period.
It is expected that substantial numbers of Switzerland’s full-service restaurants will be unable to survive the COVID-19 pandemic due to the pressure that has been placed on their ability to generate revenues in a consistent and protectable manner. As a result of this, a wave of insolvencies is expected to sweep across independent full-service restaurants during 2021.
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