Latest report from The NPD Group looks at Australia’s pre-and-post-COVID-19 foodservice industry performance

SYDNEY, Australia, August 30, 2021 – Total foodservice consumer spend and traffic in Australia was up 25% and 23%, respectively, in the April-May-June quarter (Q2) of this year compared to Q2 2020, the height of COVID-19 restrictions in the country, according to The NPD Group. For a pre-pandemic view, industry spend and traffic declined 8% and 14%, respectively, versus Q2 2019.

The cheque growth rate was up 2% versus Q2 2020, and 7% when compared to Q2 2019. The increase in price per item was the key factor in the cheque growth across all ordering methods excluding pickup, which saw cheque growth driven by items per eater. All channels saw average eater cheque gains versus Q2 2019, though QSR declined 2% versus Q2 2020.

The decline of foodservice traffic versus Q2 2019 was driven by Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), and Full Service Restaurants (FSR), dropping 12%, and 38%, respectively. However, Retail saw traffic growth of 4% versus Q2 2019.

“The recovery of Australia’s foodservice industry continues to improve, but it will take time before we see pre-pandemic levels of spend and foot traffic,” said Gimantha Jayasinghe, Senior Vice President and Deputy Managing Director Asia Pacific at The NPD Group. “While there were periods of lockdown across the country in the second quarter of this year, Australia operated with minimal restrictions for the most part. This has led to stronger than expected performance within some foodservice segments, helping to boost overall industry growth when compared to last year.” 

QSR and Retail showed positive spend performances in the quarter, with both channels experiencing growth when compared to both Q2 2020, and Q2 2019. FSR rebounded from the drop in the market in Q2 2020 but was down when compared to Q2 2019 due to the channel being the one most impacted by the recurrence of government restrictions imposed on the industry.

“The industry is moving towards recovery versus 2019’s performance, led by off-premises services like delivery and drive-thru,” said Jayasinghe. “In these uncertain times, and with the industry constantly having to adjust to changing restrictions, off-premises services continue to show resilience and growth when compared to pre-pandemic time periods. Thus, there needs to be continued focus on off-premises occasions as we navigate our way out of this pandemic. The traditional on-premise venues likely to prosper in these times are the ones that can adapt and increase their off-premise capabilities. We’re even seeing independents introduce drive-thru to attract new customers.”