Self-service cafeterias recorded a heavy decline in foodservice value sales, the number of transactions and also the number of outlets, as retail centres remained closed throughout 2020 since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020. This unprecedented length of closure had a dramatic impact on the category, and the number of outlet closures is much higher than almost any other category in consumer foodservice in Argentina in 2020, due primarily to the strong link between this category and retail.
There was a particularly dramatic rate of outlet closures in 2020. Outlets selling food by weight were particularly hard hit in 2020, not only by the closure of eat-in sales, but also as a result of the lifestyle changes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina in 2020.
Second-placed player Coto offers Zona E! to the landscape, which offers both consumer foodservice, but also a recreation zone with games for children, space for children's birthday parties, and in some branches, it even has public cinemas. It also benefits from having very competitive and attractive price points, with Zona E! being more than an eating facility, but an experience for families, and a place to play, eat and celebrate.
The outlook for self-service cafeterias over the course of the forecast period is relatively complicated as it relies heavily on the recovery of large retail spaces, chains and shopping centres for its success. Going into the forecast period large retail centres where the majority of self-service cafeterias are located remain closed and will do so until the threat of COVID-19 subsides.
During the COVID-19 pandemic a large proportion of the Argentinian populations has switched to work from home arrangements in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. It is uncertain at the moment when workers will be able to return to the workplace which is bad news for players in this category offering food by weight as these players rely heavily on working in offices for their sales.
Premises located in downtown areas in Argentina are expected to be amongst the worst hit by the poor epidemiological situation in Argentina as we go into the forecast period. These areas will remain deserted whilst office workers continue to work at home and travel bans remain in place.
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This report originates from Passport, our Self-Service Cafeterias research and analysis database.
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