Retail gastronomy on the way again: day ticket

The gastronomy offers in the retail trade, from the take-away counter to the restaurant integrated in the store, are being visited much more frequently again after the corona-related dip in demand. According to a study published on Wednesday by the retail analysis institute EHI in Cologne, retailers expect total sales of almost nine billion euros for retail catering this year. This represents an increase of about 17 percent compared to the previous year, but is still about 10 percent below the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

“After two difficult years, retail gastronomy in Germany is on the rise again,” says Olaf Hohmann, head of the retail gastronomy research department at EHI. Many retail catering managers have mastered the pandemic situation relatively well with concept adjustments and new ideas.

Above all, the offers for take away meals have clearly gained more importance. This is reflected in the average income. According to the survey, it is currently only 4.92 euros for purchases in retail catering. The industry is currently particularly concerned about rising energy and raw material prices.

Commercial gastronomy – total sales are growing again

Sales figures in retail catering show a clear upward trend, although the EHI forecast for 2022 does not come close to the pre-Corona year 2019. In the first year of the pandemic, 2020, sales were still EUR 7.55 billion, thus EUR 2.45 billion less than in 2019. Sales in 2021 rose slightly to EUR 7.72 billion. The retailers surveyed are optimistic for 2022 and expect total sales for retail catering to be almost nine billion euros.

In 84 percent of the branches, retailers have reassessed their food concepts and adapted them to the pandemic situation and changed consumer behavior. In addition to simplifying the dishes, it includes, among other things, an expansion of the take-away and convenience-to-go offers, a stronger focus on combination dishes, an attractive ratio between price and performance in the offers and consideration of trend dishes. The fact that customers have recently increasingly bought food for take away and to-go convenience and made less use of the more expensive restaurant and café offers on site is also reflected in the average receipt. This is 4.92 euros for purchases in retail catering.

The industry fears rising energy and raw material prices

According to retailers, the success factors in retail catering lie in the areas of customer orientation, process optimization and product quality. In their opinion, location (82 percent), good value for money (77 percent) and high-quality ingredients, fresh produce and proximity to customers (68 percent each) promise the greatest success. However, the industry continues to face major challenges. Rising energy and raw material prices (77 and 68 percent respectively) are the biggest obstacles, and against the background of the current war situation, they appear for the first time on the ranking list.

Commercial gastronomy – the goals change

Two years ago, the goals of increasing sales and increasing profits were still at the top of the ranking, but in the current situation, retailers primarily want to use their gastronomic offer to increase the frequency of their branches, win customers and retain them (67 percent each ). Anyone who runs a restaurant also associates the purpose of differentiating themselves from the competition. At the same time, trade and gastronomy must function as an overall concept and contribute to strengthening the image and increasing the duration of the customers’ stay, say 43 percent of those questioned.

For this to be successful, control over the food concept, quality, cleanliness, service, added value and the employed staff should rest with the retailers. In 72 percent of the branches, catering is therefore also managed independently. Planning in the food retail trade goes even further. The traders see the possibility that their gastronomy department can show food competence and thus also achieve a positive image for their trading places. 27.3 percent of food traders want more self-management in the area in the future, only 18.2 percent strive for more gastronomic external services.

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