In 2021, the total number of full-service restaurant outlets in the UK suffered a further decline, falling by 2% in the country, to reach 27,909 establishments. The year represented the most challenging part of the pandemic as the reopening of the channel coincided with the lifting of government subsidies to businesses, in addition to VAT rising back up to 12.
The footfall in full-service restaurants grew significantly upon the reopening of restaurants from 12 April with outdoor dining, and 17 May 2021 with indoor dining allowed in the UK. Full-service restaurants capitalised on the excitement of consumers returning to enjoy a meal outside of the home, benefiting from the increased importance of the experience of eating out.
The value share of home delivery for British full-service restaurants dropped from 17% in 2020 to 16% in 2021, while takeaway suffered a marginally more severe drop from 29% to 27% of total value share. Nevertheless, both remained significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels due to an increased focus on convenience by consumers with third party delivery platforms capitalising on the simplicity of offering different types of food in one place.
The projections for full-service restaurants in the UK predict positive growth in terms of outlets, transactions, and value with the latter growing rapidly in the post-pandemic scenario. Focusing on the number of outlets in the UK, the pandemic set in motion dynamics based on certainty, providing significant advantages to more solid and financially stronger chained players.
Convenience represents one of the most fundamental factors driving consumer choice for foodservice. The concept of restaurants continues to shift, with simple and quick consumption being the focal concern of many customers when ordering online.
In parallel to the ongoing popularity of home delivery and takeaway, projections suggest that the engagement with consumers over the forecast period will be more limited due to a decline in footfall, and therefore, full-service restaurants will need to innovate to encourage consumers back to eating in. As remote working remains relevant, with hybrid systems characterising the life of many, home consumption will remain a solid legacy of the pandemic.
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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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