Pent up consumer demand for the dine-in experience is expected to boost the restaurant sector in the coming year, but market forces mean growth will still be well down on pre-Covid times, according to the latest research from Lumina Intelligence.

Speaking at MCA’s Restaurant Conference, Lumina Intelligence’s insight manager Greta Glaveckaite exclusively revealed findings from its annual Restaurant Market Report – due to be published at the end of February.

Glaveckaite gave a market overview and forecast for the total eating out market, which declined by more than half in terms of value in 2020 – from £90bn (2019) to £45bn.

Its forecasts are based on three scenarios for recovery, with the best case scenario seeing the market down by 38% on versus 2019, and the worst case seeing a very similar picture to this year with the market declining 48% - this assumption is based on restaurants and pubs being closed until the May bank holiday, the rule of six being implemented, and 11pm curfew for pubs, tier three and four type measures in place and dine-in closures from November.

When it comes to restaurants, the best-case scenario for growth was + 15% year-on-year. However, schemes like Eat Out to Help Out, which was hugely popular last summer, suggest that consumer demand to experience dining in at restaurants and pubs will lead to a boost in trade when the sector is allowed to reopen fully.

In addition to market forecasts, Glaveckaite spoke about how operators had been responding in these unprecedented times. Menu sizes have decreased by 20.5% at chain restaurants, broadly in line with the market average, she said, with main courses have been the most affected in the chain restaurant channel, decreasing by 22%. Despite this, operators have maintained a wide choice with as many 13 starters featuring on menus, on average.

Vegetarian dishes account for 15% of mains, but while the number of vegetarian dishes is on the decline, vegan options are up by 58%, she said.

During her presentation Glaveckaite also gave details on the Eating Out Panel’s latest findings – what consumers are looking at when they are eating out of home, ingredients used most often in dishes, and what’s in growth, and menu price inflation.

To watch all the footage from the event please click here.

For more information on the Lumina Intelligence UK Restaurant Market Report 2020/21, please click here to contact us.

TRC21 - Sponsor Footer