Limited-Service Restaurants in Western Europe

May 2021

Consumer foodservice recorded a collapse in sales in 2020 as Coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the region, with outlet closures, lockdowns and travel restrictions among the measures taken to try and control the pandemic. However, limited-service restaurants (LSR), often with takeaway and home delivery services already in place, as well as offering affordable menus, turned in the best foodservice performance in 2020. LSR will immediately return to positive growth from 2021.

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Key findings

Steady growth in the historic period

LSR were recording healthy value growth rates of around 3% per year in the historic period up to 2020. Growth was down to a number of reasons, including affordability, the fact that on-the-go food is appreciated by busy consumers as it is convenient and fast and they can have it at the time of their choosing, and also the increasing demand for home delivery, which LSR are ideally placed to satisfy, helping to drive sales through this channel.

LSR the go-to option during eat-in bans

Western Europe saw dramatic sales declines for consumer foodservice in 2020, with this industry one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. With foodservice outlets only allowed to open for home delivery/takeaway during lockdowns, LSR were among the best suited operators for meeting demand for such services, either through their own operations or in conjunction with third party food delivery players. As a consequence, while sales were well down for LSR in 2020, the declines were less severe than for other foodservice channels.

Increase in healthier options

The healthy lifestyle trend had already been increasingly influencing the LSR channel, with the pandemic serving to accelerate the demand for fresh and healthy food and drinks. The LSR commonly associated with fast food, have been making attempts to include healthier options, including vegetarian or vegan alternatives. For example, McPlant, the McDonald’s meat-free burger.

Positive growth expected post-2020

LSR will return to positive growth immediately post-2020, although, after the dynamic performances expected in 2021-2022, sales increases will return to similar levels (3%) over 2023-2025 to those seen in the pre-pandemic period. The LSR channel will therefore only see a relatively slow recovery in terms of regaining lost sales, with 2019 levels not expected to be reached until 2025.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Western Europe underperforming the global averages
Return to pre-COVID-19 sales levels not expected until 2025
UK and Italy lose almost USD10 billion in sales between them in 2020
Convenience stores LSR record positive growth in the UK in 2020
France adds the most new value sales over 2015-2020
Eat-in’s share dives as pandemic drives takeaway/home delivery sales
Standalone continues to dominate consumer foodservice distribution
Leisure, lodging and travel lose almost half their sales in 2020

Leading Companies and Brands

Leading players increase their shares in 2020
Big players planning further expansion
UK the major revenue generator for top 10 players
McDonald’s continues to be out on its own as the leading LSR brand

Forecast Projections

UK to add the most new sales in 2020-2025…
…but will not return to 2019 levels by the end of the forecast period

Country Snapshots

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
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape


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