Whilst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is expected to impact nearly every industry, the damage wrought to the global consumer foodservice industry is projected to be especially severe, with social distancing regulations closing millions of restaurants globally. This report discusses the post-COVID-19 outlook for consumer foodservice, with a special focus on demand scenarios and long-term consumer shifts.
By far and away the worst crisis to impact the consumer foodservice industry in the post World War II era, COVID-19 has already shut down millions of restaurants globally, with a significant percentage unlikely to reopen.
Although every category will feel the impact of the crisis, eat-in traffic has been completely banned in many markets, and is expected to remain subject to serious restrictions throughout 2020.
Whilst the current crisis is likely to exceed the impact of 2008-2009 by some distance, the example of especially hard-hit markets from that period, such as Greece, suggest that a V-shaped recovery is unlikely, particularly if the crisis drives a significant contraction in the current outlet base.
Early discussions of the crisis have focused on the utility of delivery by consumers under lockdown, whilst most local regulations have allowed delivery and takeaway services to continue. Yet, delivery aggregators have seen significant pullbacks in demand, suggesting a large-scale shift away from foodservice occasions.
Optimisation for delivery, multiple revenue streams, and broader retail foodservice coverage is likely for operators that survive, whilst consumers’ relationship with cooking is set to shift under prolonged periods of enforced social distancing. Foodservice in restaurants is set to contract sharply, possibly permanently; yet, the future for prepared food with some kind of service attached is notably brighter.
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