November’s delivery and takeaway sales double pre-COVID-19 levels.
Hospitality groups’ delivery and takeaway sales continue to grow, the latest edition of the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker shows—and with COVID-19 concerns and restrictions affecting the eating-out market, there will be a heightened focus on at-home sales through December.
The Tracker shows that November saw Britain’s leading managed restaurant and pub groups record a 97% increase in sales by value compared to the levels of November 2019. Sales were just 1% below November 2020, when businesses were subject to much tougher restrictions on eat-in trading than they are now. November’s research from CGA and Slerp shows delivery sales were 192% higher than in 2019—far outstripping the 25% growth in takeaways. This reflects consumers’ switch from picking up food to having it delivered to their door, a trend boosted by lockdowns and the popularity of third party delivery providers. While 2021-on-2019 growth has slowed since hospitality venues reopened earlier this year, deliveries and takeaways are likely to attract another wave of interest over the last few weeks of 2021. As anxiety about the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 mounts and people are working from home where possible, many consumers are likely to consider ordering food in instead of eating out. Combined, deliveries and takeaways accounted for just over 28 pence in every pound of spending at managed groups in November 2021. Growth in this sector continues to be much higher than in eating and drinking out, with the November edition of the separate CGA Coffer Business Tracker—which has a different cohort of contributing companies—indicating that managed groups grew their sales by just 2% from November 2019. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, says: “COVID-19 concerns threaten to badly damage the eat-in and drink-in sales of Britain’s restaurants and pubs this Christmas, but at-home sales could prove a lifeline to many fragile businesses. Deliveries and takeaways are now deeply embedded in consumers’ habits, and December is likely to give them fresh impetus. This sector is going to be a crucial battleground for all operators and suppliers as we enter 2022, and understanding consumers’ attitudes and preferences will be pivotal to success for all players.” Slerp founder JP Then says: “It is almost certain that Plan B is the start of a period of further restrictions. Already we can see that pre-orders are on the rise, and online ordering will be an even more crucial channel in the coming weeks and months as people’s plans change. It is essential that operators ensure they are clearly communicating online purchasing options to their customers wherever possible.”