In 2021, the food service market grew by 6% in visits and 5% in expenditure, despite a 5-month closure of establishments (as in 2020). However, these figures are still far from the results of 2019, with the market lagging 30% in visits and 35% in spending compared to this reference year.
In detail, the most buoyant segment remains quick service restaurants, which are up 13% in visits and 15% in value vs. 2020 and are only 12 points behind their 2019 results in footfall. Speed and flexibility of service, diversity of offers and better turnover explain the good figures of this business segment, which is better adapted to the changes in the market. On the other hand, table-service restaurants continue to decline: after losing half of their attendance and turnover in 2020, they will post 12% fewer visits in 2021.
  • Delivery and digitalisation
The widespread use of teleworking has enabled off-premises consumption (by delivery and VAE) to become a permanent feature of French habits. Taking all channels together, its weight has risen from 63%of the total market in 2019 to 81% two years later. In the restaurant sector, 30% of sales are now made off-premises, compared with 15% in 2019. In addition, proximity (travel time of less than 15 minutes) now takes precedence over the setting or the menu when choosing a place to eat.
Another finding is the boom in digital ordering (via an app, computer or kiosk), which now accounts for 470 million visits, or 7% of total visits, compared with 2% in 2019. In quick service restaurants, one in 10 orders is now placed this way (3% for table-top restaurants). Moreover, 57% of these digital orders are taken by the younger generation (18-34 years).
  • Trends to follow
"With the crisis, the way the French consume has become less sedentary, more focused on speed and flexibility. However, the French continue to favour sit-down restaurants for convivial outings where the taste experience is paramount. The desire to indulge in quality dishes, cocktails or desserts, to enjoy a welcoming setting or entertainment, are all reasons to return to this type of seating. The good news for restaurateurs is that the average ticket for these privileged moments is increasing (consumption on the spot is up 5% compared to 2019)," comments Maria Bertoch, foodservice expert at The NPD Group.
For 2022, the firm anticipates a total increase in spending of 21% compared to 2021 and a return to 2019 levels by 2023. The success of poké bowls, an ever-greener offer (particularly waste management), the impact of generation Z (people born between 1997 and 2010), inspirations from elsewhere for takeaway food (Mexican, Thai, Japanese, etc.) and offers available exclusively online are also among the trends to watch this year, according to the study.

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