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Delivery slips as consumers return to eating out

Published:  26 April, 2022

Britain’s managed restaurant and pub groups’ delivery and takeaway sales remain more than double pre-Covid-19 levels – but trading has dipped year-on-year as consumers resume their out-of-home eating habits.

This is the latest ‘takeaway’ from the most recent edition of the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker, which compares the frequency of at-home indulgence to pre-pandemic times.

According to the findings, groups’ combined delivery and takeaway sales for in March 2022 were 119% higher than in March 2019. Three-year sales growth for deliveries stands at a whopping 382% – 19 times the increase of 20% in the takeaway and click-and-collect sector.

However, growth has stalled in the last 12 months, as Covid-19 restrictions eased and consumers returned to restaurants and pubs, with many tightening their belts as the cost of living rises. Interestingly, for drinks – including softs and alcohol – growth between February and March 2022 remained at 9%, the same as January to February was (9.1%), so has remained flat. Overall takeaway and delivery sales for March however, were 24% below the levels of March 2021, when Britain was under strict Covid-19 restrictions and venues were closed. Deliveries were 19% down year-on-year, and takeaways down 31%.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director of hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Given the comparatives, the year-on-year dip in deliveries and takeaways was inevitable. It’s also a welcome sign that many consumers still prefer eating out to ordering in, and that their behaviour is settling back to pre-pandemic norms. However, the at-home market still represents around a quarter of managed groups’ sales, and it is very clear that the convenience of deliveries will continue to appeal. Optimising deliveries and partnerships with third-party platforms, without disrupting eat-in trading, is going to be crucial as we head towards the summer.”

Slerp founder JP Then added: “The focus for operators is turning repeat customers into loyal advocates. This applies online as much as it does for on premise. We know that up to 70% of revenue is generated from 30% of customers – it’s now about engaging with this customer base when they purchase online, and rewarding them to drive repeat purchases directly. Successful operators are using their own apps and web-ordering with loyalty and customers are responding with repeat spend.”

The CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker is one of the leading source of data and insight for the delivery and takeaway market. It provides monthly reports on the value and volume of sales, with year-on-year comparisons and splits between food and drink revenue.

Partners include Azzurri Group, Big Table Group, BrewDog, Cote Restaurant, Dishoom, Gaucho Grill and Giggling Squid.