The second IKEA store in Bulgaria opened in the coastal city of Varna in September 2020. Operated by Greek company Fourlis, the local of franchisee for the IKEA retail and consumer foodservice brand, it joins the retailer’s Sofia store and two smaller ordering centres in, one in each of Plovdiv and Burgas.
In Bulgaria, self-service cafeterias is a highly traditional consumer foodservice channel that has long been seen as a cultural institution among the country’s working population. These types of eateries usually present a wide range of filling and nourishing meals, with menus changing daily and prices typically very affordable, especially in comparison with other consumer foodservice options.
The vast majority of sales in self-service cafeterias are accounted for by independent operators, with the traditional self-service eateries that have defined the channel for generations generally family-owned and operated businesses. Unfortunately, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was generally felt far more acutely by independent businesses than chained consumer foodservice operations.
Despite the woes of 2020 and the numerous outlet closures that were seen in the channel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, self-service cafeterias is slated for a very robust recovery over the forecast period. Central to this strong performance is set to be the value-four-money positioning that self-service cafeterias has traded on for generations.
As mentioned above, the huge shift that was seen towards working from home among Bulgaria’s white-collar professionals, service industry personnel and office workers during 2020 was a major factor behind the unfavourable performance recorded in self-service cafeterias over the course of the year. However, with much of Bulgaria’s professional workforce expected to return to working from the office as soon as they are able, the channel is expected to benefit from a substantial surge in demand among office workers for affordable, convenient lunchtime options.
One of the few positives to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic for Bulgaria’s traditional self-service cafeterias is the realisation that branching out into delivery and takeaway services offers them all opportunities for new sources of revenues. With huge numbers of their traditional customer bases working from home during 2020, many of the traditional, independent self-service eateries that comprise the majority of outlets and account for the bulk of sales in the channel began taking orders via telephone and/or via social media, with customers either collecting their orders from the premises or having them delivered to their homes.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Self-Service Cafeterias industry in Bulgaria with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Self-Service Cafeterias research and analysis database.
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