Casual dining restaurants set to continue leading growth in the foodservice sector

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Casual dining was cited as meeting 'core consumer needs'
Casual dining was cited as meeting 'core consumer needs'

Related tags: Casual dining, Forecasting

The British foodservice market is set to grow by 1.1 per cent in 2015 and 1.5 per cent in 2016, according to NPD Group's first complete forecast for the foodservice market. 

The group predicted six ‘star’ players that would drive spend growth: casual dining, quick-service operators serving chicken, Italian cuisine, burgers and coffee, and the hotel channel.

Casual dining is set to outgrow all other channels​ and achieve spend of over £5bn by the end of 2016, 13.7 per cent higher than spend recorded in 2014.

Top chain brands will drive growth in the pub sector, which is set to receive 1.29bn visits by the end of 2016, compared to 1.18bn for full service restaurants.

Branded outlets are predicted to experience stronger growth than their independent counterparts, and consumers will continue to seek value across the board.

Consumer trends

Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice for the UK and France, said: “The forecasts are only half the story. Knowing the reasons for why some channels will enjoy growth, and why others are going to suffer, is the key to understanding the market.”

NPD attributed the growth to three key consumer trends.

Firstly, as the economy recovers consumers are looking to treat themselves and their children.

Secondly, consumers want more choice and diversity, and are much more willing to try something new.

Finally, when diners go out to eat, they want a ‘full experience’ and the sense of a ‘social or family occasion’.

The continued boom in casual dining growth was cited as being due to the concept meeting core consumer needs, combining ‘newness and diversity’ with the opportunity for a “family-oriented treat”.

NPD’s research follows Horizon’s prediction that the UK foodservice sector will grow by £10bn to be worth £56.3bn by 2019.

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