The value of the UK restaurant sector is expected to grow by 32.1%, to reach £11.7bn, in 2021, on the back of market contraction of 53.1% last year, according to a new report from Lumina Intelligence.

Its UK Restaurant Market Report 2020/21 found the value of the market dropped £10bn to £8.9bn in 2020, following huge restrictions on trading throughout the year. A large part of this contraction is expected to reverse but the market is still only expected to reach 58% of the value it was in 2019.

Lumina’s estimates for the year ahead are based on the roadmap to recovery outlined by the government last week, with all restrictions on social contact due to be removed on 21 June.

According to the report, 52% of consumers are very or extremely likely to dine-in at restaurants before June, but technology is anticipated to play a key role in reassuring consumers, as well as maximising footfall once restrictions ease.

Forty percent of consumers surveyed said they either agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident eating out regardless of contactless ordering and payment technology. This number increased to 56% of consumers if a restaurant has implemented technologies such as apps and QR codes, which limit contact with staff and hand-held menus.

Katherine Prowse, insight manager at Lumina Intelligence said: “Despite pent up demand from consumers for returning to the channel, operators will need to work hard to reassure consumers of the safety measures in place.

“Technology will play a key role in doing this. Nearly two-thirds of consumers say they would be more confident in visiting a restaurant if contact with staff and menus is restricted through the use of apps and QR codes.”

The report also highlighted how the uptake of technology has accelerated within the restaurant sector, with 25.9% of consumers having used QR codes since March, compared to 10.2% before. The use of mobile order and pay apps also increased significantly, from 15% prior to March 2020, to 26.4%.

To find out more about the report, click here