One of the things that make the restaurant industry so exciting is its constantly changing and evolving nature. The arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 ensured that change was in no short supply for the past few years. That shifting pace continues to shape the structure of the industry today. Here is our roundup of key Restaurant Industry Statistics in the UK, for 2022, 2023 and beyond.
In the UK (as well as the rest of the world), the restaurant and hospitality sectors have taken some serious knocks, affecting everything from food supply to employment. Every business owner knows how important it is to keep up with the times. But the sheer level of chaos that has ensued between 2020 and 2021 has left many UK restaurateurs feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
One of the ways to combat these frustrations is to take advantage of the data available on current restaurant and consumer behaviours, shedding light on where the nation is at and how to best adapt to this otherwise perplexing post-pandemic landscape. With 2022 almost in the bag and 2023 on the horizon, things are looking up!
General UK Restaurant Industry Statistics
How are restaurants holding up during this complicated historical time? These general restaurant industry statistics look at the key takeaway points of interest which have occurred between 2021 and 2022 in the UK.
- Over the course of the pandemic, the restaurant and hospitality industry adapted well to the changing rules, as the proportion of temporarily closing businesses plummeted from 81% in the 2020 lockdown to just 54% in the 2021 lockdown.
- In 2022, The Guardian reported in July that UK restaurant insolvencies had jumped by 64%.
- There are 35,129 full-service operating restaurants within the UK in 2022, down from 42,070 in 2021.
- The food and drink industry within the UK provides formal employment for 475,000 people in 2022, down from 487,848 individuals in 2021.
- While low business confidence is expected to lighten with Omnicron cases coming under control in 2022 and lifted restrictions, many restaurant owners are still braced for lean times. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel according to a Lumina Intelligence report released in early 2022.
- The report predicts a year-on-year growth of almost 60% for the UK restaurant industry, or £6.6 billion, to a value of £17.8 billion.
- Another takeaway from the Lumina report is that the top branded restaurants will see sales of £3 billion this year, topping that of 2019.
UK Restaurant Economy Figures
The economic status of the UK has been dramatically influenced by Covid-19 and the nation is still reeling from lost profits. However, the government implemented schemes like Eat Out to Help Out, which proved stimulating to the industry’s economy.
Recent historic data looked like this:
- After the lockdown softened in July 2020, UK restaurants were much slower to recover than pubs, with 36% vs. 94% reopening respectively.
- The trading conditions of total restaurant sales in the UK dropped by 64.9% in 2020.
- The Bank of England claims that UK households potentially saved £100 billion in consumer costs over the course of the pandemic, implying there could be a massive surge of interest in restaurant activities once all restrictions are lifted.
- The UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out plan successfully brought pubs, bars, and restaurant groups back to their 2019 levels.
- Prior to the pandemic outbreak, January 2020 promised a fruitful year as the profit level of restaurants and bars was 4.7% higher than in January 2019.
- The full closure of restaurants and bars in November 2020 saw profits plummet by 43.7% as compared to November 2019.
- Due to volatile trading during 2020, data on UK restaurants and bars between April and July of 2020 is not available to the public.
But where are we now?
While UK restaurants were much slower to recover than pubs following Covid, both were seeing a “solid” recovery by early 2022, according to thedrinksbusiness.com.
Again the Lumina report claims that the UK restaurant market will recover 94% of its 2019 value in 2022 with a total market value of £17.8 billion.
There is no doubt that the UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out plan successfully brought pubs, bars, and restaurant groups back up to, or pretty close to, pre-pandemic levels.
UK Restaurant Technology Adoption
In addition to the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the technology industry is also evolving at a rapid pace. Restaurants may revolve around good quality food and service, but technology also plays a significant role in the food and hospitality industries – via payment methods, websites, QR codes, menus, mobile-app delivery services and even simple robots.
- During 2020, the use of QR (Quick Response) codes became far more filtered into the mainstream restaurant market. Presently, over 84% of UK citizens have used a QR code to pay for a meal, establishing their presence as a staple in restaurant payment options. This is a trend that’s grown in 2022 and looks set to do the same in 2023.
- In 2020, as much as 48% of UK citizens are willing to exchange their data for more personalised services and options within the restaurant industry.
- Contactless payments made up 27% of the total payments made within the UK during 2020, the demand for cashless or contactless payments continues to grow.
- During 2020, the number of cash payments made fell by 35% overall.
- 40% of restaurant consumers report that they are comfortable dining out regardless of contactless payment options, but 56% of restaurant consumers say that such options are of importance to them.
- Almost two thirds of UK consumers say that they would rather dine out at restaurants with contactless or QR code payment options than those without.
- UberEats is paving the way for drone deliveries which could be an uber-trend in the future going forward into 2023.
Online Marketing Figures for UK Restaurants
Online marketing saved the bacon of many food and drink outlets over the pandemic period. Now, restaurant owners and managers realise the value of a strong online presence together with using multiple delivery platforms.
In 2022, online marketing has never been more important to businesses that rely on consumer engagement. Restaurants in the UK are no different, and gaining knowledge about how to go about strategising a solid online marketing plan is integral to success.
- Every nine days, there is more content uploaded to YouTube than the BBC has produced in the entirety of its television history.
- Food and drink make up the bulk of what is posted on social media, being mentioned one-third of the time across all platforms.
- In 2018, the hashtag #food was posted to Instagram 260,819,245 times, and the hashtag #foodporn was posted 150,819,245 times.
- The hashtags #food and #foodporn continue to be top hashtags on Instagram and TikTok in 2022.
- It’s also no secret that not only Millenials and Gen Z Google every aspect of their lives but most people research restaurants and pubs before making a decision on where to eat. Up to 90% of consumers in the UK will research a restaurant before visiting – more than any other business type does.
- The global online food and restaurant industry cropped up £25 851 060 000,00 in profits during 2020, emphasising the importance of functional and user-friendly online delivery options.
- Functional, attractive, and mobile-friendly websites will become the biggest ambassadors for restaurants and other business types.
UK Restaurant Trends And Expectations For 2022 And Beyond
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the future cannot be predicted. But despite a rocky economic season, the UK restaurant industry’s future is not all doom and gloom, despite media reports.
With delivery services keeping businesses afloat and creative dining approaches becoming more popularised, there are plenty of new and exciting trends expected to take place over the next few years that the food and drink industry can look forward to accommodating.
- In 2021 and 2022, the gradual but steady easing of lockdown restrictions boosted revenue within the UK restaurant industry. As 2023 is fast approaching, we will continue to see a gradual rise in revenues within the UK restaurant industry.
- Plant-based food chains have continued to perform well in the UK, and are likely to remain in demand in the upcoming future.
- Plant-based food chains and offerings of vegan and cultivated meat alternatives continue to rise in popularity as many of the younger generation are concerned about doing their bit to mitigate climate change.
- At-home fine dining (DIY meal kits, picnic-style baskets etc.) is likely to be a common feature, where consumers can order food to be brought home and prepared by the consumers themselves.
- Functional, attractive, and mobile-friendly websites will become the biggest ambassadors for restaurants and other business types
- Outdoor dining is also likely to attract customers, as there is less concern around viral infections being shared in confined indoor spaces.
- Experts say that consumer desire to spend should see an uptick as Covid-19 fades, and most of their money will go towards the hospitality industry.
- In 2021 and beyond, locally-sourced produce is going to be of more significance than before due to disrupted mega supply chains and a general desire from the community to keep things local.
- People care about the carbon footprint of the food industry. In 2023, restaurants should see this as an opportunity to partner with local producers and use only seasonal ingredients.
The Future of the UK Restaurant Industry
While nobody can say for certain what the future will hold, what we do know is that it will come with both new challenges and new rewards. So far, 2021 and 2022 have been a year of major adjustment, and we can expect this period of change and flexibility to continue for the next few years.
However, despite the many changes and challenges that the UK restaurant and hospitality industry do face, many experts maintain a positive outlook for the future of consumer-business relationships and believe that the economy will repair over time.
Technology, contactless payments, high-engagement websites and social media presences, superior delivery services and of course, high-quality products are expected to spearhead the future of the food and drink industry—not just within the UK, but for the world as a whole.