Limited-service restaurants recorded lower declines in transactions and current value sales than the other main consumer foodservice categories in Denmark in 2020. Because takeaway and home delivery have traditionally accounted for a comparatively high proportion of their turnover, these businesses were better positioned to cope with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw foodservice outlets forced to close for in-person dining during lockdown periods, and made many consumers more reluctant to frequent such establishments when they were permitted to open.
The COVID-19 pandemic also encouraged the emergence of new collaborations and concepts in limited-service restaurants in 2020. For example, specialist coffee and tea shops chain Espresso House teamed up with convenience stores limited-service restaurants operator OK Plus to install special Espresso House coffee stations in 16 OK Plus outlets.
Many chained players in limited-service restaurants updated their marketing strategies in 2020 to reassure consumers about their hygiene protocols and address wider concerns arising from the pandemic. One of the most innovative responses came from Burger King, which issued a statement on social media platforms under the headline “Order from McDonald's”.
Limited-service restaurants should see overall current value sales and transactions rebound strongly from 2021 as the threat from COVID-19 subsides and consumers start to resume their normal lifestyles. However, current value sales are not projected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022, while a full recovery in transactions is not expected until 2023.
In recent years it has become essential for limited-service restaurants chains to embrace sustainability initiatives to meet the rising expectations of Danish consumers. One of the most notable developments in this area in 2020 was Sunset Boulevard’s announcement that it would no longer give out plastic toys with items on its children’s menu, and instead plant a tree for every order received.
Danish consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, and it seems likely that this trend will be reinforced by the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, over the forecast period players in limited-service restaurants will continue to expand and diversify the range of healthier choices on their menus.
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