19 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Restaurant turnovers drop but take away booms
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Restaurant turnovers drop but take away booms

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There is a new dining landscape forming out of the new habits developed during the lockdown

It is a rather strange version of the grass always being greener on the other side. The pandemic brought about a significant reduction in restaurant turnover in 2020, albeit not surprising given the lockdown. This deduction has come from data provided by the top 25 UK restaurant groups.

But on the other side of the coin, as we have reported previously, take away food, and in particular home delivery, has really taken off in a big way, such as to be pointing at a fundamental change in British habits and lifestyle.

What is more is that the home delivery markets even include significant deliveries at breakfast and lunch, whereas previously the lion’s share of the market related to dinner. This trend has continued post-lockdown and Just Eat now takes more delivery orders in the morning than it did at peak dining times two years ago.

Without a doubt people have got used to eating at home.

This creates new challenges for restaurants because they now have to work out how their product is going to get to their customers in tip top condition. They have to adjust the menus to ensure top quality whilst at the same time using ingredients which will not spoil during the transportation period. They have to work out a whole procedure of packaging and packing materials which are going to be suitable – and which will now be a major overhead which probably did not exist at all previously.

So this shift in lifestyle brings challenges and exciting ones and at the same time has brought about a large increase in variety of take away food which is no longer restricted to chippy suppers and the Indian or Chinese takeaway. Eating well at home will only continue so long as the food product is of a good and interesting quality.

So the grass is greener on the takeaway side and the restaurants are having to re-think how they are going to operate. Of course many of them will in fact be selling on the home delivery front so getting used to the change of circumstances. The dinosaurs however may find this challenge a bridge too far.

The pandemic is not over yet and we are still seeing a major residue of effects. Only time will allow firm paths to become apparent and when they do it will become clear how our country has adapted and will continue to adapt to adverse circumstances. But of one thing there can be no doubt, take away food and home delivery food were great blessings during the lockdown!

In the meanwhile too we have seen a huge number of restaurant and pub closures in the past 20 months and with uncertainty ahead we may yet see a lot more. The reasons for that? Well some will have gone broke and not be in a position to restart. Others have come to realise that they were working all hours for little reward and the peace and quiet of the lockdown was something they thought they would prefer to keep and get used to.

So your local landscape will look a bit different too. Keep your eyes open as you go about and watch old names disappear and, yes, a few new ones coming into the picture to fill some of the gaps.

Tonight is bonfire night. Enjoy your fireworks but do make sure that all animals are snugly tucked up inside.

Adrian Leopard     05-11-21

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Adrian Leopard & Company is the trading name of Alderney Offshore Ltd, a company registered in Alderney, Channel Islands number 1220.

Address P O Box 1027, Alderney GY9 3AS

Registered Office Seldomin, Longis Road, Alderney GY9 3YB.

Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

Telephone enquiries may be made on 08449-4-08449 or 01684-230360.

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