The Catering Sector in France Adapts and Absorbs the Shock from COVID-19 Lockdowns

The NPD Group anticipates lower losses for catering in France thanks to take-out and delivery

Paris, December 15, 2020 - According to the latest data from The NPD Group, the share of “take-out” visits in France has doubled in catering, comprising 35% of total visits between March and October 2020, versus 17% over the same time period last year. 

Restaurant owners have been able to adapt in order to develop their offerings toward take-out. They have reviewed the composition of the menus, developed the product mix, worked on the packaging and found new ways of communicating with consumers to inform them about the evolution of their offer (via social networks in particular).

On the fast food side, take-out is becoming predominant: while it represented two-thirds of orders before the first confinement, it reached 85% of the market share between March and October 2020. 

Increased delivery for table catering

For some table catering players, home delivery has made it possible to avoid total closure by maintaining a certain level of activity. Several restaurants that had signed with aggregators during the first lockdown continued these partnerships in the fall. The number of orders delivered fell from 1% for table catering before March 2020, to 8% between March and October 2020; and the trend is strengthening in November 2020. Maria Bertoch, Foodservice France Expert at The NPD Group comments: “For table catering in particular, it is clear that the need to maintain activity at all costs has accelerated the deployment of delivery. It is interesting to note that these new sales channels continued to operate in parallel with table service during the summer reopening and are a way to maintain a source of saving income during this second lockdown."

Digital shift

Another trend accelerated by the constraints linked to the health protocol: the implementation of restaurant owners' online offerings. Take-out and delivery were supported by the implementation of online ordering systems (via an app, internet or menu board). In table catering, this type of order increased by one to 7% between January and October 2020.

And the consumers in all this?

“Beyond the adaptations of RHD players, we are able to monitor trends in households, in particular concerning consumers' feelings in relation to the unprecedented situation they are going through and the evolution of their needs and of their consumption pattern”, continues Maria Bertoch. “According to a survey conducted on the eve of the second confinement with a representative sample, 48% of those questioned claimed to have taken more time to cook since the start of the pandemic. A sign that good food is still a major interest for the French, 46% of respondents say they try new cooking recipes more than before, 35% have gone so far as to take online cooking classes and 34% have ordered kitchen kits for preparing meals at home. Finally, 35% of them strive to eat healthier."   

Innovation + adaptation: the credo of HDR in 2020

Restaurant owners have stepped up initiatives to attract their regular and local customers: some have transformed their establishment into a solidarity grocery store offering products related to their specialty, while continuing to collaborate with their usual suppliers. Others have opted for street food, pulling out their hot plates to serve up daily specials and chat with customers over coffee, tea or soup to go. Finally, some have not hesitated to add a festive touch to their offer by offering a Christmas menu in the fall with oysters and seafood to take away, accompanied by quality wines.

“Innovation and adaptation to changes in demand are the key to the resilience observed among certain RHD players,” concludes Maria Bertoch. “Those who listen to their local customers are able to put in place effective strategies to withstand the crisis."



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David Riley
917-543-5465
david.riley@npd.com

The NPD Group, Inc.
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Port Washington, NY 11050

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