Britain’s restaurant and pub groups saw their delivery sales reach five times their pre-pandemic levels in January, the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker reveals.
The latest edition of the Tracker shows that groups recorded a 422% increase in sales by value from January 2019. Takeaway sales were 29% up, as consumers continued to shift their ordering towards the convenience of delivery. Added together, delivery and takeaway sales were more than double the level of January 2019, at 138% up.
The combined figure is higher than the 2021-on-2019 increase of 127% that the Tracker reported for December, when caution about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and restrictions on hospitality led some consumers to order in instead of eating out. Deliveries and takeaways accounted for nearly 30 pence in every pound spent at managed restaurant and pub groups in January 2022.
The Tracker from CGA and Slerp also indicates a growing trend for ordering drinks, which were worth just over 9% of total delivery sales in January.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, says: “This strong start to 2022 shows that the delivery sector is going to flourish long after COVID-19 concerns ease. Consumers have got used to the convenience and quality of at-home food and drink from restaurants and pubs, and many of them will not change their habits lightly, even as eating-out returns to pre-pandemic norms. The big challenge for businesses is to ensure that delivery sales are incremental rather than detrimental to their in-venue sales in 2022.”
Slerp founder JP Then says: “Confidence is building back up in the sector with operators feeling more clear on a post-COVID-19 landscape. The most innovative businesses are really embracing direct-to-consumer online ordering by building it into their marketing strategies, and targeting specific calendar moments that are relevant to them, such as Lunar New Year, Valentine’s or Mother’s Day. Operators are focused on building their book of customers to aid in email/SMS marketing campaigns to drive more repeat business.”