Self-service cafeterias was already registering steep declines in sales prior to the pandemic. Recent years have witnessed many Norwegians abandon self-service cafeterias due to their old and unfashionable images, leading people seeking coffee and cake to favour specialist coffee and tea shops.
Even when open, self-service cafeterias were subject to significant extra costs during the health crisis. Operators had to implement additional measures such as extra cleaning and wrapping cutlery to avoid cross-contamination, whilst also serving customers with less self-service business possible.
Competition from other channels increased during the health crisis. The fairly restricted and basic menus of independent self-service cafeterias are quite unexciting in comparison to juice/smoothie bars or specialist coffee and tea shops, making it difficult to compete when consumption largely moved to the home during home working and because of the fear of contagion.
Self-service cafeterias is expected to record a lacklustre constant 2020 value performance over the forecast period with an ongoing decline in the number of outlets. The trend was already evident prior to the COVID-19 crisis, which only accelerated the overall decline and disaffection with the channel.
Ikea is set to become the only chained self-service cafeteria operator by the end of the forecast period, although even here the move to e-commerce will lead to lower footfall in the retailer’s outlets, while home delivery is not an option for Ikea. A focus on healthier items and short-term campaigns to attract customers has helped, with reports indicating that in recent years up to a third of customers were only visiting Ikea restaurants and not the shop.
The focus on healthier items is becoming increasingly lost among the intense advertising from competitor channels, such as burger limited-service restaurants and specialist coffee and tea shops. Reduced stops when travelling by car due to faster roads and more energy efficient cars are also set to negatively affect the channel.
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This report originates from Passport, our Self-Service Cafeterias research and analysis database.
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