What’s on the Menu: Global Foodservice Outlook

In many countries, including those in Europe and North America, Covid-19-related disruptions remain the most relevant driver of foodservice performance in the near term, as sales and foot traffic trends remain well-below pre-Covid levels. Notably, China, which is ahead of the curve in terms of both virus outbreak and containment, could be a potential indicator of the likely speed and scope of the foodservice recovery as the virus subsides.

Report summary

As vaccinations and treatment advance, the focus of attention will shift from near-term recovery to more strategic matters. The most relevant performance drivers over the next 6 to 12 months will be the pace of revenue recovery beyond restrictions, the influence of government stimulus, key cost drivers, and cash flow challenges.

These drivers point to a challenging operating environment for the foodservice industry, particularly for smaller operators. “Many of these operators may not survive the current disruptions, leading to a materially different industry landscape compared to pre-Covid. However, the final number of closures could be lower than what was originally feared as new capital steps-in to take advantage of new opportunities,” according to Maria Castroviejo, Senior Analyst – Consumer Foods.

Moreover, Covid has accelerated and, in some cases, triggered many strategic elements of the foodservice industry, which will continue to drive agendas even after the current crisis has come to an end. Delivery – even with all the uncertainties around its eventual shape and size – is one of them. The greater acceptance and rising popularity of working from home may also prompt deep changes in foodservice portfolios and assortments. However, it's sustainability, in a broad sense, that may extend the farthest and result in more transformational changes at all levels, as a combination of regulatory and corporate purpose-driven choices determine future investments and operational choices.