The restaurant and fast food industry has undoubtedly witnessed several changes in recent years, from some doing away with the brick-and-mortar setup and opting for mobile or online operations instead, to a review of the menu offering to cater for various lifestyle choices.
The increased use of technology has also made the industry much more appealing to investors as well. This is evidenced by the increase in the use of apps and online payment systems. Moreover, the global economy has allowed for commodity and currency trading, as ingredients and other industrial goods are traded internationally and payments are made in foreign currency.
In 2019, the food services delivery market was reportedly worth approximately £8.5 billion, given the advent of online delivery concepts. Moreover, the use of third-party delivery services led to an additional 1.6 million meals being sold each week, highlighting people’s desire for convenience and hassle-free dining. Overall, at the end of 2019, the industry recorded a whopping 7.5 billion food deliveries. As it stands in 2021, the takeaway and fast food restaurant industry’s market size is said to be approximately £18.7 billion, measured by revenue.
Current Industry Trends
Some may argue that the good thing about times of uncertainty and unexpected circumstances, such as the year 2020, is that they prompt innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Much like many others, the food industry has experienced several changes and implemented new systems that have sparked trends that are expected to remain for some time, some of which have been noted below.
- Off-Site Dining
Even prior to the conditions of 2020, this is a trend that was fast becoming the norm. There are situations and times where people desire restaurant-type food without necessarily wanting to dine out or enjoy it in a public space and in the presence of others. This has been exacerbated further by the busy and demanding lifestyles that many lead, which has proven beneficial to fast food outlets and restaurants that accept takeaway offers.
- On-Demand Dining and Food Delivery Platforms
Dubbed the microwave generation, it is no wonder that today’s youth gravitates towards instant gratification and on-demand services in various aspects of their lives. This not only extends to e-hailing services and streaming sites, but also online food delivery services. Gone are the days when one has to physically go to a dining place, browse through the menu, place an order, and then wait to be served. Nowadays, restaurants can sign up on several third-party food delivery platforms to allow their customers to place their orders and have them delivered without much hassle.
- Conscious and Sustainable Eating
Various factors motivate the lifestyle choices that people make, such as environmentally-friendly living and sustainable living. To reduce food wastage, chefs constantly work on new recipes and food ideas that incorporate all edible parts of vegetables, fruits and animals. Moreover, some people may opt to reduce their consumption of animal products and be vegan or vegetarian. These lifestyle choices are to be considered by dining places to be more accommodating of their customers. Additionally, this has also led to the establishment of eateries that cater specifically for a certain lifestyle choice.