Full-scale implementation of digital order channels is now considered a "prerequisite for survival".
More and more Brits are shopping online and are opting for faster and more convenient ways of dining, at the expense of the "old habit" of going shopping and finding a place to sit down.
Research from the NPD Group suggests that the out-of-home or eat-out foodservice market will fall over the next two years in Britain after reaching 11.35 billion visits in 2017.
"All of the meaningful growth in foodservice will be ‘off-premise’, which is where the industry will address the decline on the high street," Dominic Allport, Insight Director for Foodservice at the NPD Group, explained. "The modest growth in the large takeaway and grab ‘n’ go channel, supported by the continuing delivery revolution, is enough to provide a significant majority of the growth in spend over the next two years for the entire British foodservice industry."
The growth of drive-thru, Allport says, is part of a trend towards more convenience and on "keeping a lid" on spending. But aside from cost, consumer behavior and technology have their respective roles as well.
"Both casual dining and the QSR channel, including burger and bakery chains, will continue to grow as more consumers seek convenience through food delivery services, as well as the increase in emphasis on product and service quality," Allport said, adding that the number of customers using digital kiosks or order screens in a foodservice outlet or online is expected to exceed 1 billion per year for the first time by the end of 2020.
In particular, apps are projected to see a rapid increase in adoption and use by 88% between now and the end of 2020.
"In my opinion, any future growth in foodservice visits will be overwhelmingly tech-driven. Operators have realized that the full-scale implementation of digital order channels which offer a combination of convenience, engagement and new experience is a prerequisite for survival and growth in a sluggish, over-supplied market," Allport concluded.
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