Independents thrive on London lunch trade

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Londoners spend more on lunch-to-go than other Brits, and independents are outgrowing branded chains
Londoners spend more on lunch-to-go than other Brits, and independents are outgrowing branded chains

Related tags: Cent, Restaurant, Lunch, London

London is a ‘boomtown’ for independent cafes and restaurants selling lunch-to-go, according to a new report from the NPD Group.

The report found that Londoners buy lunch-to-go more frequently than Brits in any other part of the country, with the capital owning a 17 per cent share of Britain’s lunch-to-go traffic despite accounting for just 13 per cent of the population.

Although the percentage of London lunch visits that are to go is almost the same as the rest of Britain (65 per cent vs 64 per cent), the report suggested that Londoners pay 24 per cent more for their lunch-to-go on average.

London is also outpacing the rest of Britain in terms of growth, with lunches purchased from QSR restaurants up 17.1 per cent in the capital over the past five years, compared to 4.4 per cent growth in the rest of Britain.

Although independents are losing out to branded chains and leading coffee companies in the rest of the country, the NDP report showed that London independents saw lunch-to-go traffic increase 6 per cent in traffic in the year to August 2014 – meaning they now account for 21 per cent of total traffic share.

 “It’s fascinating to see how independents are taking ‘lunch-to-go’ traffic share from the branded outlets in London,” said Cyril Lavenant, NPD Group director of Foodservice UK, who presented findings today at Lunch!

“Throughout the rest of Britain it’s the reverse trend so London’s independents have clearly developed a successful offering. One possible reason the capital’s independents are doing well is that London is often the city where all kinds of new ventures are tested before they are rolled out to the national market.”

Looking for quality

Londoners were also found to have different motivations when it comes to lunch-to-go, with 24.4 per cent citing ‘quality of food’ as a factor in choosing an outlet, compared to 21.7 per cent in the rest of Britain.

Chicken sandwiches and BLTs topped the list of the favourite lunch-to-go items bought at QSR restaurants in London last year, while burgers, cheese sandwiches and chips also rated highly.

Over half (52 per cent) of Londoners go to their offices to eat, with only 15 per cent enjoying their purchase outside.


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