While self-service cafeterias looks set to develop positively over the forecast period, current value sales are not projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels until 2026, and by 2027 transactions are still expected to be below those recorded in 2019. This is partly because the lunch trade on which several chains and independents are traditionally heavily dependent is unlikely to recover to historical norms given that the number of Finns engaged in remote/hybrid working is now much higher than ever before, and continues to rise.
Traditional favourites such as meatballs and pork cutlets are expected to remain the most popular items on self-service cafeteria menus over the forecast period, especially in outlets located at petrol stations and those in the Ikea Restaurant chain. However, with more Finns now embracing vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets, the offer of meat-free dishes will continue to grow throughout the category.
As in other foodservice categories, ethical considerations will continue to gain influence over competitive strategies in self-service cafeterias during the forecast period. For example, the addition of new meat-free options to menus will not only be a response to the increasing adoption of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles among Finns, but also driven by the recognition that more people are reducing meat consumption due to environmental and animal welfare concerns.
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Self-service cafeterias are outlets where there is no (or limited) service content. Rather than table service, there are food-serving counters/stalls where customers take the food they require as they walk along, placing it on a tray. In addition, there are often stations where customers order food and wait while it is prepared, particularly for items such as hamburgers or tacos which must be served hot and can be prepared quickly. For some food and drink items, customers collect an empty container, pay at the check-out, and fill the container after check-out. Free second servings are often allowed under this system. For legal purposes (and the consumption patterns of customers), this system is rarely or never used for alcoholic beverages. Self-service cafeterias do not have a cover charge, customers are either charged a flat rate for admission (as in a buffet) or pay at the check-out for each item. Some cafeterias also charge by weight. Self-service cafeterias resemble contract catering self-service cafeterias such as canteens, dining halls and cafeterias located within institutions such as a large office building, school and universities. However, fully captive contract self-service cafeterias are excluded from consumer foodservice. Unlike fast food, self-service cafeterias feature a menu comprising full, regular meals, often with a large choice of first course, main course and desserts. As cafeterias can effectively serve large number of customers with comparatively few employees, they are often found within larger complexes, for example, department stores, shopping malls, travel foodservice (motorways stations, railway stations, airports). Self-service cafeteria examples include: Ciao (Autogrill), Flunch (Agapes Restauration SA), IKEA (Inter Ikea Systems BV)See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Self-Service Cafeterias research and analysis database.
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