Foodservice Update Q1 2022: Global Foodservice Outlook 2022

Operational challenges, including rising food and energy costs, volatile demand, and poor staff availability are the most impending problems for restaurant operators as 2022 starts. They all require immediate attention and mitigating measures, as well as long-term strategic solutions.

Report summary

But 2022 should also be the time to consolidate, review and optimize all the changes implemented over the past two years: many were carried out under pressure of necessity and urgency and need to be revisited with a more strategic view in mind.

This is the case of delivery, which has proved more resilient than initially expected, even as on-premises dining has resumed. Delivery is now expected to structurally represent a relevant share of revenue. With this in mind, delivery strategies need to be reconsidered with a critical look at profitability, data ownership and customer relationships.

Investment in technology – and digitalization in particular – has also advanced at an unprecedented rate in the recent past. The potential applications and benefits of automation and data-driven AI powered systems are increasing, meaning that the digitalization process will continue and expand beyond front-of-house solutions. But frustration with inconsistent systems has also grown as new solutions have been added. A reset may be necessary. The good news is that suppliers have also made progress and more cohesive and overarching solutions are increasingly available.

Regarding funding and financing, the uneven performance of IPOs in 2021, along with general investor concerns about inflation and interest rates, may drive corporate activity in 2022. We expect cash providers to be more risk-averse and critical in their choices in 2022. The old values of profitability and cash flow may attract renewed interest.