UK takeaway sales are still double pre-pandemic levels

It seems that lockdown habits die hard as takeaway sales in the UK in July 2022 were twice that of July 2019, despite the absence of restrictions on going out to eat.

The latest CGA Hospitality at Home Tracker from NielsenIQ reveals that combined delivery and takeaway growth was 112% compared to July 2019, with delivery sales up 265% and click-and-collect sales at a slightly more modest 46%. But combined sales this July were down 19% on the same month last year. This is the ninth month in a row that the Tracker has recorded a year-on-year decline.

Nando’s, Pizza Express, Wagamama and Honest Burgers are among the groups whose sales were surveyed by the Tracker.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director, said: “July’s hot weather prompted many consumers to head out to pubs and restaurants – especially those with outdoor areas – rather than ordering food in.”

Though Chessell attributed the year-on-year decline to the end of Covid restrictions, he said: “…demand remains high, and our latest Tracker data is a reminder of the seismic shift towards deliveries in the last three years. All restaurant and pub operators now need a multi-faced approach to ensure they continue to capitalise on opportunities in the at-home channel without cannibalising on-site sales.”

Many restaurants offered new delivery options during the lockdowns, including meal kits – and it is perhaps surprising that there is still a demand for these options. However, it might be speculated that as domestic energy bills rise, consumers might go to local pubs and restaurants more frequently in the winter to take advantage of the heating – though these businesses are also at critical risk from the cost increases.

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