No slowdown for QSR kitchens as bright forecast issued for fast food chains

Growth in the quick service restaurant sector is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, analyst firm NPD Group has said.

The established trend of consumers trading down to cheaper eats when eating out is forecast to continue, according to the latest data crunched by the firm.

The QSR channel that includes well-known burger and bakery chains is expected to attract 41 million more visits each year by the end of 2020 to reach nearly six billion visits annually, representing more than 53% of the entire British foodservice industry in visit terms.

NPD’s forecast is for QSR to attract £1.53 billion more spend by end 2020 to reach £24.6 billion.

Casual dining will also see strong growth in visits and spend, it said. By the end of 2020, it will be attracting an additional 43 million visits to represent 5.5% of all OOH visits, while spend will jump +15.5% or some £960m.

In contrast, full-service restaurants will continue to decline with a loss of 63 million visits, a drop of -9.3%.

Similar to their QSR cousins, casual dining operators have been quick to expand into delivery. All leading casual dining chains are benefiting from this move into delivery, as well as an emphasis on product and service quality.

Visits originating digitally – meaning customers using digital kiosks or order screens in a foodservice outlet, or ordering online or via apps for delivery or takeaway / grab ‘n’ go – will exceed one billion per year for the first time by end of 2020.

The use of apps in particular is expected to continue to see a rapid increase in use, with visits that originate from an app (both click and collect and delivery apps) forecast to leap by 88% between now and the end of 2020.

If app-based orders perform as predicted, they will have grown 2.5 times in visit terms since the end of 2017.

Dominic Allport, insights director with The NPD Group, said: “Our forecasts indicate that any future growth in foodservice visits will be overwhelmingly tech-driven. Operators have realised that the full-scale implementation of digital order channels which offer a combination of convenience, engagement and new experience is a pre-requisite for survival and growth in a sluggish, over-supplied market.”

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