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 year. That shifting pace continues to shape the structure of the industry today.
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 into this otherwise perplexing post-pandemic landscape.
Jump To a Section Below
- Using Data to Uphold the UK Restaurant Industry
- General UK Restaurant Industry Statistics
- UK Restaurant Economy Statistics
- UK Restaurant Technology Statistics
- Online Marketing Statistics for UK Restaurants
- UK Restaurant Trends and Expectation Statistics for 2021 and Beyond
- The Future of the UK Restaurant Industry
Using Data to Uphold the UK Restaurant Industry
Statistics and data are a powerful resource for any industry in today’s age, helping provide substance to suspicions and clarity to confusion. Without this information, compiling a solid and appropriate plan of action for maintaining healthy profits and consumer engagement becomes much more strenuous, and unnecessarily so.
We live in the information age, and thoroughly researched data is readily available and accessible via the internet and articles such as this one.
With analytics tools to help track and follow patterns of data pertaining to just about every aspect of your restaurant, struggling to keep up with the times becomes a much more manageable affair.
Throughout this article, we are going to take a look at some of the most notable statistics on the UK restaurant industry in 2021 and peer forward into what we can expect from future years.
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 2020 and 2021 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.
- There are 42,070 full-service operating restaurants within the UK.
- The food and drink industry within the UK provides formal employment for 487,848 individuals.
- Low business confidence is expected, with 27% of multi-site restaurant owners fearing their business will be “unviable” by mid-2021.
- The economic turnover in 2020 was £1.2 billion, compared to the much larger £6.9 billion from May 2021 (highest it has been since August 2020).
- The restaurant industry turnover of 2021 (so far) is still 25% lower than that of 2019.
- The turnover in May 2021 is five and a half times higher than it was in May 2020.
- Restaurant bookings in May 2021 (just after restrictions lifted) soared up to 32% higher than the pre-pandemic May 2019.
UK Restaurant Economy Statistics
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.
- 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.
- In 2021, the UK restaurant sector is expected to rise by 32.1%, or £11.7 billion, respectively.
UK Restaurant Technology Statistics
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.
- 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.
Online Marketing Statistics for UK Restaurants
It’s 2021, and 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.
- Food and drink make up the bulk of what is posted on social media, being mentioned one third of the time across all platforms.
- Every nine days, there is more content uploaded to YouTube than the BBC has produced in the entirety of its television history.
- In 2018, the hashtag #food was posted to Instagram 260,819,245 times, and the hashtag #foodporn was posted 150,819,245 times.
- 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.
UK Restaurant Trends and Expectation Statistics for 2021 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.
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 is expected to boost revenue within the UK restaurant industry.
- Plant-based food chains have continued to perform well in the UK, and are likely to remain in demand for the upcoming future.
- 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 desires 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.
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 has 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.