Steve Gotham

Steve Gotham, Director of Insight, has worked in catering and hospitality business, consumer and market research with specialist interest in consumer insight, competitor benchmarking and key performance indicators. He carries out Commercial Due Diligence assignments for clients, and leads all bespoke research projects and market entry studies. Steve’s team produce the MCA annual market reports and all brand analysis. Prior to that, Steve worked for several years in retail analysis, for Verdict Research, where he was Head of Analysis & Publications across the retail spectrum. He started his career with Sainsbury’s, where his roles included Store Location Research and Competitor Intelligence. Steve has an MBA from City University and is a member of the Market Research Society.

Contact info

+44 (0)207 611 0419
  • Dominos pizza

    Steve Gotham: Lesson One in leveraging delivery – appraise the competition


    With the fast diminishing prospects of restaurants being able to re-open sooner rather than later, there is increasing importance on leveraging delivery as a business revenue stream. MCA’s Menu Tracker insights have recently been augmented with some delivery menu analysis. This has extended to 38 operators across four channels, comprising chain restaurants, fast food – traditional and contemporary, as well as the delivery specialists (the raft of pizza purveyors that include the likes of Domino’s, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut delivery).

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    Analysis & Insight

    Steve Gotham: Corporate grief and moving on


    In trying to come to terms with the monumental destruction and upheaval being wreaked by the coronavirus, it is helpful for both individuals and assorted business entities, to take some solace of sorts from the grief cycle. This highlights how there is a series of phases commonly associated with the grieving process – and helps to explain the roller coaster of emotions that are typically endured. Importantly within this, though sadly not available to all, there is a recovery outcome.

  • News

    ​Steve Gotham: Contrasting coronavirus communications


    MCA’s Operator Data Index includes over 350 eating & drinking out chains with five outlets or more. We estimate these businesses generated a combined turnover of almost £27bn in 2019 – quite what this comparative will equate to in 2020 when the coronavirus dust eventually settles is a scary prospect. Many of these businesses have temporarily closed all operations, while a number are gallantly soldiering on with delivery or takeaway from selected locations only. Of those businesses still trading in some form, it is useful to review their online messages on how they are dealing with the coronavirus. Certainly, there are differences in how they are looking to both inform and reassure consumers.

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    A tale of two markets – and the search for some out of home good news?


    The contrast between the sales highs of the supermarkets and the all-time lows of hospitality and foodservice could not be starker at this moment in time. But surely fortunes must turn? Unfortunately, we live in unprecedented times with chronic uncertainty. To their credit, governments around the world are intervening and taking previously unimagined steps to help mitigate the prospect of a worst-case scenario.

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    Steve Gotham: Straddling the great wet vs dry divide


    While there might be some disagreement over the extent the UK eating out market is over-supplied, there will be strong agreement that it is intensely competitive. It remains highly fragmented and contains an abundance of operators clamouring for consumers’ attention and spend. As such, skilful market positioning is essential.

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    Analysis & Insight

    What women want – and other gender differences


    In recognition of International Women’s Day, it is topical to look at some of the gender differences that exist in the Eating Out market. Using MCA’s Eating Out Panel consumer tracking data, a review of behavioural patterns quickly finds that equality is not evident on several fronts, and also, that women have subtly different priorities when they eat out. 

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    Analysis & Insight

    ​Steve Gotham: Turning up the heat and other NPD delights


    New product development (NPD) is rightly recognised as a lifeblood for the eating out industry, and MCA’s Menu Tracker offers insights into the latest menu trends and influences across 150 leading operators. This review only serve as a taster, but the three courses have each been accompanied with three key summary insights.    

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    Analysis & Insight

    Steve Gotham: Diners are ‘creatures of habit’


    It has long been recognised that we are what we eat. Equally, this might well be extended to we are when we eat out. Using MCA’s Eating Out Panel (EOP) data, consumption insights show that we are creatures of habit when it comes to our eating out preferences by day of the week.

  • Pret
    Analysis & Insight

    Steve Gotham: The devil in the detail on outlet growth


    Outlet numbers are a critical metric we closely study within MCA’s Operator Data Index. Recently we rechecked December 2019 numbers, reassessed growth trends and reviewed outlook announcements from operators, ahead of producing our own forecasts of expansion/contraction across 250 leading casual dining brands.

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    Are chains offering enough Low and No?


    Miller & Carter rightly wins plaudits for the impressiveness of its food and the quality of its customer service, but it also beats any leading restaurant chain competitor with its choice of Low and No alcohol beers. The steakhouse offers four, including a low alcohol beer, and a no alcohol beer, ale and cider. Across the UK’s 25 largest restaurant brands chains, four have two options, 16 have just one and four list none.

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    All’s fair in love and restaurants – how did the operators line up to fight for the Valentine’s share of wallet?


    If French is the language of love, then presumably a French restaurant should be where I head with my true love on Valentine’s Day. Certainly, the leading French chains are using several seduction techniques to secure my custom – and for good reason. February is a slow trading month and an event where consumers might be more inclined to loosen the purse strings for fear of having their heart strings damaged, is well worth aiming to capitalise upon. So who offered what on the big day?

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    Steve Gotham: Recovering confidence and and accelerating growth in 2020


    Encouragingly for most, MCA predicts that 2020 will see stronger net physical increases in store portfolios across the majority of leading operators.MCA’s Operator Data Index includes over 350 branded operators with five or more outlets at December 2019. These stretch across the full spectrum of the market and account for close to 27,000 outlets which claimed modest overall year on year growth of just under 1% in 2019. We are expecting this growth rate to double to 2% in December 2020, with over 500 net new outlets to open, equating to 11 per week.

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    Analysis & Insight

    Food to Go key take-outs


    Now I might be a tad biased, but I thought MCA’s recent Food to Go conference was rather good. It’s always great to hear from operators at the coal-face, and the line-up included several interesting speakers all prepared to share some insights on how they are grappling with the opportunities and challenges of the maturing Food to Go marketplace. And yes, let’s not be in any illusion, some of the froth has come off this previous darling of the Eating Out market, with increasing signs of localised saturation only reinforcing the importance of enhancing consumer relevance. So how is this being pursued?

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    Analysis & Insight

    A stock-take on physical expansion


    A stock-take on physical expansion – Review of 2019 risers and fallers

  • Vegan food

    The rising tide of responsible consumption


    Having spent at least part of my formative years in the 1980s, I remember being struck by one descriptor of this largely buoyant and aspirational period as a time of ‘conspicuous consumption’. Rising materialism and displays of wealth were very much in vogue for those who could afford to flaunt it. Fast forwarding to the 2020s, however, and things are very different. A strong early tip for a decade defining label must be ‘responsible consumption’. This has of course, many guises, including rising plant-based diets, reducing alcohol intakes and adopting more sustainable behaviours. All of these are being tracked within MCA’s Hot Topics consumer research programme.

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    Analysis & Insight

    The Dynamic Meal Equation


    There are times when even some basic mathematics can provide valuable concision and perspective. 

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    Counter trends for 2020 and beyond


    With both the start of the year and of the decade, it is particularly hard to avoid commentary around new predictions and key trends from any old Tom, Dick or Steve. But bear with me, I am going to try to offer a different spin on this murky crystal ball gazing, by focusing on anti-trends.

  • Deliveroo Sainsburys

    Predictions for foodservice in 2020


    Many readers will be aware that leading trade publication, The Grocer, is a b2b brand stablemate of MCA. Given the sheer scale and importance of the grocery market as the biggest rival to eating out of home, it is essential for foodservice professionals to maintain a watching brief on key developments, trends and predictions within the supermarket sector. Recently, The Grocer collated a series of future forecasts from executives from across the grocery market, and these have been distilled into five key look-outs that should be on the foodservice radar too.

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    Analysis & Insight

    2019 Consumer award winners Part 2: Spotlight on NPS and RI


    After last week’s focus on the best in class quality, value for money and friendly service award winners, this follow-up analysis shines a spotlight on those out-performing operators topping the league tables at Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Revisit Intention (RI).

  • Yo! Sushi dish
    Analysis & Insight

    Beating the January blues


    There is an easy logic behind the third Monday in January being the most depressing day of the year, despite the underpinning research coming under question. 

More by Steve Gotham