Full-Service Restaurants in Western Europe

May 2023

This regional briefing examining Full-Service Restaurants (FSR) in Western Europe arrives at a timely moment. Full-Service Restaurants are emerging from the pandemic, which had a huge negative impact, but the recovery is facing several other major challenges. This briefing examines the performance of Full-Service Restaurants over 2017-2022, analyses different types of FSR and looks at the largest brands. It also explores key trends within the category and assesses prospects for the future.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Significant impact of COVID-19 on performance of the category

While some challenges to the category were present before, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 severely affected full-service restaurants (FSR) across Western Europe. Sales fell drastically during the year, and while some recovery was seen in 2021 and 2022 as restrictions lifted, a full return was certainly not seen. Transaction numbers fell markedly given limits on movements, and outlet totals also reduced with many chained and independent FSRs unable to survive the pandemic and the connected economic difficulties.

Range of challenges impacting category in 2023

Although issues stemming from COVID-19 fell away in 2022, other factors meant a challenging operating environment still purveyed throughout the region. Labour shortages and changing demographics of workers, the hybrid model of working, rising operating costs, a difficult economic situation for consumers and the threat posed by limited-service restaurants (LSR) - given the advantages they can bring to customers - all meant FSRs faced a precarious situation. 

Key consumer trends have emerged and will remain present

The pandemic encouraged several trends to come to the fore. Shares of sales occurring in the home delivery and takeaway channels have remained strong compared to pre-pandemic levels. Healthier diets have heightened focus, as does meal personalisation, and the incorporation of sustainable and local ingredients, as well as technology, is also developing. The creation of a memorable experience when at a restaurant has also become more important for customers.

Full recovery will not be seen by 2027

A recovery back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of sales, transaction and outlet numbers is not expected to be seen by 2027. Although all FSRs will see retail sales grow between 2022 and 2027, this represents a recovery from the drastic falls in 2020. Middle Eastern FSRs are expected to perform the most positively of all FSR types. But crucially, a return to 2019 sales levels will not be seen.

Key findings
Sales decline in all regions amidst COVID-19; per capita spending highest in North America
Recovery ongoing after awful 2020, but no recovery to pre-pandemic sales levels
Huge impact of lockdowns in 2020 on sales, particularly for European FSRs
Negative or stagnant growth pervades across categories and countries, with a few exceptions
Biggest absolute declines seen in European FSRs, though all categories see reductions
Multitude of factors pose strong challenge to FSRs in Western Europe
Rise in home delivery and takeaway; growing demand for local, sustainable and healthy diets
Standalone channel dominates across the region, other channels recover after 2020
Retail and lodging channels recover strongly following 2020
Travel channel recovering after 2020 as mobility increases
Diverse market for FSRs across Western Europe with many companies present
Largest companies see rebound in share after 2020
Largest FSR companies have their greatest presence in the biggest markets
Wagamama rises to top of the rankings, three new companies enter the top 10
Growth seen, but mainly as a result of recovery following the falls in 2020
Transactions unlikely to return to 2019 levels as consumers move elsewhere
FSR outlet numbers to remain stagnant, while LSR numbers increase
Middle Eastern FSRs to see highest growth but European to remain dominant in actual size
Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Belgium: Market Context
Belgium: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Finland: Market Context
Finland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Greece: Market Context
Greece: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ireland: Market Context
Ireland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway : Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain : Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden : Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Switzerland: Market Context
Switzerland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
United Kingdom: Market Context
United Kingdom: Competitive and Retail Landscape

Consumer Foodservice

Consumer foodservice is composed of cafés/bars, full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks.

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