What you need to know

The value of the UK eating out industry grew by 23% between 2014 and 2019 to reach just under £77 billion in 2019. Growth is being driven by affluent diners who are spending more on quality dining experiences as well as the convenience of quick meals through the home delivery channel.

However, the market lacks budget-friendly options for price-conscious consumers, which has resulted in some worse-off consumers exiting the market in 2019. Entry points on menus, such as Hungry Horse’s Starters from £2.69, should be attractive to cost-conscious customers.

Meanwhile, a blurring of categories in the eating out sector offers opportunities for restaurants/pubs to extend their brand through home delivery.

With the takeaway industry projected to grow, more operators are investing in ‘dark kitchens’ (portable kitchens capable of servicing multiple restaurant operators) to meet demand without having to position themselves in areas where rent prices are high.

Products covered in this Report

The scope of this Report is the eating-out market within the UK. This consists of various market segments, which are defined as:

Burger and chicken: quick-service restaurants with limited service where food is served quickly at the counter. These restaurants are typically used for takeaway, though most establishments have the option to dine in (eg McDonald’s, KFC). Most are open for all-day dining with a continuing focus on lunch and snacking occasions.

Pizza takeaway: brands and independents that typically sell pizza as a key product to takeaway customers, with options for home delivery and collection/click-and-collect (eg Papa John’s, Domino’s).

Pubs: includes branded/managed pubs and tenanted/leased pubs.

  • Branded/managed pubs: owned by managed pub groups and restaurant groups, with consistent branding and/or menus (eg Beefeater, JD Wetherspoon).

  • Tenanted/leased pubs: owned by pub companies and leased/licensed to individuals or small franchisees. The manager is often tied to the brewery.

Casual dining restaurants: a sit-down meal in a casual venue that provides a fast, efficient table service (ie where food and drink is brought to the table by waiters/waitresses). Predominantly a branded chain of restaurants that may also offer home delivery services (eg PizzaExpress, Wagamama).

Independent restaurants: a casual restaurant that typically provides a limited number of seats for a sit-down meal and may also offer home delivery services. Owned by one person or group; not part of a branded chain.

Coffee shops: branded chains and independents serving espresso-based beverages as core products. Many larger chains, such as Costa and Starbucks, also serve food options for breakfast and lunch in particular.

Hotel catering: comprising hotel restaurants, bars and room service.

Roadside catering: outlets that operate at MSAs and on major roads, with the leading operators being Euro Garages UK and Applegreen.

In-store restaurants: full-service and/or limited-service restaurants located within retail outlets, including supermarkets and department stores.

Food-to-go specialists: quick-service retail outlets that cater to takeaway customers for breakfast, lunch and snacking occasions (eg Pret A Manger, Subway, Greggs). Most establishments serve pre-packed food and drink in hot/cold displays, and may serve made-to-order food as well, such as salads and sandwiches. Some venues may also provide seats for a sit-down meal. Also referred to as grab-and-go (ie where customers grab a meal, pay at the counter and go).

Other fast-food outlets: quick-service retail outlets that typically cater to takeaway customers, often serving made-to-order dishes. Typical cuisines include kebabs, fish and chips, pies and Chinese (takeaway).

Street food/food courts: Food prepared and served quickly to order from a stall or van with a limited menu, at value prices, and where customers wait on themselves. Street food stalls are often managed by mobile caterers at markets, events and festivals, while food courts are typically located within shopping centres.

The following sectors are specifically excluded from the Report although may be included for the purpose of comparison and analysis.

  • Contract catering: On-site catering provided within public sector and workplace environments. Typically, canteen restaurant catering. Also referred to as cost-sector catering.

  • Supermarket-to-go: Food that can be purchased off the shelf and taken out to eat, typically from supermarkets and convenience stores.

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