Home News Insights The Impact of the World Cup Tournament on the Restaurant Industry

The Impact of the World Cup Tournament on the Restaurant Industry: What to Expect?

By Jochen Pinsker, 
Senior Vice President Foodservice Europe

The Football World Cup in Russia 2018 is underway!  And every day, the tournament dominates more and more of our daily routine and topics of conversations. The sports section of the newspaper is the first thing I read each day.  I have to make my bets for the next round, in the workplace canteen I discuss with colleagues who will score next, and I enjoy the ‘Sweden Burger’ this week because this is the team we play next…!

But the question we are asking ourselves is: what is the impact of the tournament on the restaurant market?  We have analyzed the numbers from our CREST® consumer panel and SalesTrack® services over the last few tournaments.  In short, from the perspective of the entire market and its volume –whether measured in visits or consumer spending – there was no measurable impact. The market as a whole has not benefited from the tournaments, whether it was a World Cup or a Euro Cup – and no matter how far the country’s team made it. It is certainly an exception for the host country, though.

Of course, the lack of a total market effect from the World Cup on the restaurant market does not mean that it doesn’t change; it does have structural influences.  The Leisure and Entertainment segments (Bars, Pubs and Cafés) showed the most positive effects overall.  The number of visits, and especially the spend per visit and per guest, showed a reasonable increase.  People spend more time per visit and consume more products, in many cases a larger number of beverages.

In contrast, the B&I catering segment lost market importance during the same period. The Quick Service segment overall was not influenced during the tournaments of past years.  Here, too, though, we need to look at the details.  Within the QSR segment, fast food places, traditional snack places, and self-service restaurants had fewer visits, but the number of delivery orders grew strongly!

Overall, restaurant industry traffic has historically remained stable during a World Cup, and the benefits of some segments or chains were countered by the losses of others.

In 2018, maybe everything is different!?  It will be exciting to see what effect the so-called “aggregators” (delivery platforms) will have on the market during the 2018 World Cup! This is a format that was not really developed four years ago. From CREST®, we can see that around 3 out of 4 orders through these “aggregator” platforms are incremental to the restaurant industry. In other words, the majority of these delivery orders do not compete with other restaurant offerings.   The alternative for ordering pizza, burgers, sushi, etc. via an aggregator app is typically something already made that’s in the refrigerator, or home-prepared meals/snacks! 

Time will tell.  Stay tuned, and we’ll report back on the impact of this 2018 World Cup on the restaurant industry once our June/July data is available.

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