Although badly hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19), limited-service restaurants (LSR) was the least-impacted consumer foodservice channel by the pandemic in 2020. With takeaway and home delivery services either already in place or quickly added during initial lockdowns, LSR outlets were better able to withstand the impact of COVID-19. LSR is also expected to recover quicker than many other consumer foodservice types in the forecast period.
Healthy annual growth rates were being registered in real value terms in Eastern Europe over the historic period. Russia, the region’s largest market, saw a clear improvement in its performance after the first few years of the historic period as it emerged from the financial crisis, while Poland, the second biggest market, was recording dynamic growth.
The positive growth came to an abrupt halt in 2020, when measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of foodservice outlets for dine-in during lockdowns, made this one of the hardest-hit industries. However, the LSR channel was generally performing slightly better than the rest of the foodservice industry, helped by being well suited to takeaway/home delivery as well as offering affordable menus that local consumers were already very familiar with.
Operators in Eastern Europe have been looking to improve their efficiency by investing in the development and promotion of mobile apps that make it easier for consumers to place orders for home delivery and ensure they do not have to queue at outlets when collecting takeaway orders. For example, McDonald’s is rolling out its “Experience of the Future” service in the region, featuring the placing of orders through digital control stations, and the food and drinks then being delivered direct to the table, with no queueing being involved.
Sales are currently expected to return to positive territory from 2021, as the region hopefully begins to emerge from the pandemic. Given the decline for the LSR channel was not as deep as for most other foodservice areas, it should see a quicker return to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 2019’s sales again in 2023. Chained burger LSR will add the most new sales over 2020-2025.
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