Eating out set to rise, experts predict
The foodservice sector is set to reverse last year's sales decline to grow modestly this year, according to foodservice consultancy Horizons.
MD Peter Backman said the majority of strong businesses had learned to cope with the market's contraction by developing systems and mindsets that were effective in tough times.
After years of slow decline, he predicted that the market had reached the bottom, or would reach the bottom early this year, and that consumer confidence and spend on eating out would start to rise again this year.
"The overall position has been characterised by slow decline of the sector over the last few years - but we suspect that this has been a result of a certain amount of culling of inadequate operators," he said.
Horizons also expects that high end and mid-spend restaurants will outperform the overall market.
Backman predicted that discounting and vouchers would continue, but that operators would take care to focus on deals that build stronger relationships with customers. Sustainability, food provenance and ethical trading would return to the fore this year, he added.