The Top Three Quarterly Trends Shaping the Great Britain Foodservice Industry

Consumer confidence went down to zero in September and October 2015, as the government continued to make cuts to welfare and public services.

GDP was still going up compared to Q3 2015 by +2.3 percent and by +0.5 percent compared to Q2 2015. With a +2.2 percent increase, construction boosted GDP growth this quarter.

Our CREST® data shows the slowdown in consumer confidence did not have an impact on foodservice traffic in Q3.Despite a cold summer following the heat waves in June and the beginning of July, the total sector kept on growing traffic year-on-year by +1.5 percent during the third quarter of 2015. It even managed to deliver slightly higher year-on-year growth compared to Q2 2015 – which was already performing very strongly with a traffic increase of 1.4 percent.

As they visited the out-of-home market more, consumers also spent more. We saw an increase in average check per visit of +1.3 percent. This, combined with the traffic growth, helped to deliver an impressive +2.9 percent year-on-year increase in overall spend.

This growth was fuelled by great performance from major brands (+4.1 percent traffic growth), whilst small chains and independents continued experiencing a drop in traffic of -1.9 percent.

Similarly to previous quarters, the traffic boost was seen amongst all sectors except on-site, where visit declines continued; visits were down by -1.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

QSR excluding retail remained the strongest performer, recording a strong 3.5 percent growth in total spend and 2.1 percent in traffic.

In this edition of Topline Top 3, we look at the full service channel’s comeback, notice the new rise in women-only occasions, and observe the slow-down of deals.

As always, if you would like to discuss this information in greater detail, just contact your NPD account representative.

The full service restaurant channel is confirming its comeback

Post-2008, full service was one of the channels most affected by the recession. Between YE September 2008 and YE September 2009, this channel showed a stiff fall in traffic of -4.0 percent. The traffic declines did not end there – in the five years between year ending September 2008 and year ending September 2012, total traffic had dropped by 12.1 percent. That added up to a total lapse of 159 million visits.

However, our data to YE September 2014 started to give a glimpse of hope on the sector’s performance; it showed us that full service visits stopped declining. The latest data to YE September 2015 reassures us even further on the future of the sector as its return to growth is confirmed with a +1.6 percent year on year. In actuals, this represents an encouraging 19 million extra visits this year compared to the previous year. It also places the sector’s traffic at its highest level since YE September 2011.

Full Service Restaurants:
Visits Over Time


Source: The NPD Group/CREST®

This newly found dynamism could be linked to the improvement in the channels offering newness, quality, and value to consumers.

Groups of women visiting without their kids are driving growth in the market

More encouraging news comes from the rebound of the women-only occasion. Indeed, as we witnessed the comeback of the overall foodservice market last year, we noticed at the time that this was driven by men. It showed operators struggled to have relevant offers for women. We now see that women are back, but not necessarily with their kids. Indeed, latest data to YE September 2015 showed that women-only groups’ traffic rose by 3.2 percent in traffic year on year. This happened in comparison to women with kids groups staying relatively stable with a minimal rise of 0.9 percent during the same period.

This shows the rise of women treating themselves a little more, and not only when it comes to their families. This trend has not been replicated with men, as we note that male-only group visits have stayed steady this year.

Total Out-of-Home
YOY Visit Growth by Group Type


Source: The NPD Group/CREST®

Overall, female adult-only groups accounted for 122,000 more visits in YE September 2015 compared to YE September 2014. This shows an increase in offering relevance and consumer confidence.

Deal/promotion traffic slowed down at the expense of the rise of non-promoted visits

Over the last few years, we noticed deals were showing the only positive trends in the sector, whilst no deal traffic was constantly in decline. In YE September 2014, visits including a deal / promotion rose by +8 percent compared to the previous year, whilst traffic with no deal or promotion declined by -1.6 percent.

This year, visits including a deal have increased by +0.9 percent compared to YE September 2014. At the same time, it was outrun by non-deal traffic, which grew by +1.1 percent.

Total Out-of-Home
YOY Visits Change


Source: The NPD Group/CREST®

This slight change in behaviour this year could have been led by the lack of variety and innovation in deals and the range of low-value item offers increasing.

Overall, the market is confirming the growth trend this quarter. In particular, we’ve noted positive trends within full service, which has caught up with the quick service channel. The recovery also benefitted women-only occasions and no-deal offers. This could be seen as a positive sign that consumers are now more confident about treating themselves, and the market gave further reasons to do so.

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