With Portugal introducing a wide range of measures to control the spread of COVID-19, including a nationwide lockdown, limited-service restaurants suffered a sharp decline in sales in 2020. Nonetheless, because of the nature of these establishments, many were able to adapt quicker than other types of consumer foodservice.
With its growth supported by franchising, McDonalds has become the favourite limited-service restaurant brand of the Portuguese, a position it maintained in 2020. Its strong marketing campaigns, wide national coverage and low prices have earned the brand strong customer loyalty, whilst it has proven itself capable of adapting to increasingly demanding consumers.
Despite the challenging times, some players continued to invest in new outlet openings. Larger chained players such as McDonald’s and Burger King opened new outlets in 2020, but some independent players, mainly linked to a more premium limited-service restaurant concepts, also continued to emerge.
Limited-service restaurants is expected to rebound strongly over the forecast period, with sales expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2022. Providing the rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines is successful then restrictions on movement should start to be eased, with the hope being that tourism will return to Portugal in the relatively near future.
While fast food is expected to remain popular in Portugal over the forecast period, being a key driver of sales in limited-service restaurants, there is nonetheless expected to be a growing focus on new food options and healthier menus. COVID-19 has caused many people to reflect on their dietary choices, but it has also created a hunger for new experiences, with consumers having become bored while trapped at home.
Convenience is likely to remain the key attraction of limited-service restaurants, with consumers typically frequenting these outlets either for a quick lunch or meal, or as a simple option for eating at home. With a wide range options available for many chains from eat-in (including with automated self-service checkouts), to takeaway, home delivery, and in some instances also driver-through, players such as McDonald’s and Burger King are well set-up to cater to this demand.
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This report originates from Passport, our Fast Food research and analysis database.
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