, UK

Drive-thru spending doubled in past 12 months: NPD Group

Data from the company indicates that £2.3 billion was spent at Britain’s 2,000 quick service restaurants.

The drive-thru segment has proven to have benefitted from lockdowns and tiering for the past 12 months and is seen to grow as the country is set to ease its latest set of restrictions.

Data from the The NPD Group indicates that £2.3 billion was spent at Britain’s 2,000 quick service restaurants.

Coffee chains with drive-thru in the 12 months to February 2021 saw a 14% increase in spending versus the same period a year ago.

Drive-thru spending supposedly hit record levels in 2020, accounting for 16% of all spend on QSR and coffee chains in December. Overall, drive-thru spending represented 12% of total spend, a 50% increase in importance compared to pre-COVID levels.

“Already on the rise, the popularity of drive-thru in Britain has had a boost from COVID-19 as people tend to feel more secure in their cars. As we face a new way of living, with more time in our vehicles and a greater reliance on online and digital ordering, operators are investing in drive-thru. We expect to see more pop-up drive-thrus and for menus to expand to pizza, Indian, vegan and other cuisines,” said Dominic Allport, Insights Director (Foodservice), The NPD Group.

Takeaway, another off-premise channel, saw spend increase by 50% during the 12 months to February 2021.

Chains, pubs, and local restaurants alike also increased their digital ordering capabilities during lockdowns and tiering, with NPD’s consumer data showing that spend on digital click and collect orders has grown 51% in the 12 months to February 2021 to reach £1.5 billion.

“Collection is here to stay. Even as lockdown ends, operators will continue to invest in digital this year with apps for ordering, paying and loyalty schemes for takeaway food,” Allport explained.

Businesses are also told to maximize outdoor space to be able to serve food and drinks from 12 April whilst keeping social distancing in place.

“Creativity is the name of the game here. With some scientists warning social distancing will be in place for years, not months, operators need to find ways to serve customers outside, bearing in mind the British weather. Many city centre venues don’t have much or any outdoor space, and these businesses will need to focus on COVID measures indoors while ramping up takeaway options,” Allport advised.

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