, UK
Chart from Meaningful Vision.

Continued growth of office attendance in city centres benefits fast-food trade

Consumer traffic across the top 100 chains dipped to -1.7% in Q3.

Meaningful Vision’s latest report, examining the critical factors affecting the Food Service Industry in the UK in 2023 uncovers some puzzling contradictions as it saw a decline in Consumer Traffic across the top 100 chains (spanning fast-food outlets, coffee shops, casual dining, and pubs) from a positive 2.3% in Q1, dropping to  -1.7% in Q3.

Despite this decline in traffic, remarkably the sector has managed to return a modest increase in sales.

Overall market growth in the first nine months, between January to September 2023, accounted for 0.2%. Some areas of the market are experiencing significant growth in footfall, with fast-food showing a 1% growth in the first nine months of the year. In contrast, restaurants and pubs have seen footfall drop by 5% over the past nine months.

The growth dynamics show significant variation across regions and cities. 

Fast food traffic growth in the top 25 cities during the first 9 months hovered around 5%, a number five times higher than the market average. In city centres, the growth was even higher.

“Office attendance patterns are evolving, with UK workers now spending 20% more time in the office, according to research conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates, compared to a year ago.  This shift contributes to traffic growth in QSR places located in big cities and especially in their centres, i.e., in areas of the highest business activity.  As consumers travel more, they tend to eat out more.  Based on our data, fast food traffic grew by 15% in central locations, which perfectly correlates with office attendance numbers," 
Maria Vanifatova, CEO of Meaningful Vision said.

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