U.S. Foodservice Revenue Could Drop 27% in 2020: Technomic

Government COVID-19 demands have hindered the sales and visitation of restaurants, c-stores and other establishments
Photograph courtesy of Technomic

CHICAGO — Every sector of the foodservice industry—from convenience stores and supermarkets to restaurants and noncommercial operators—continues to hurt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of March 23, the expected year-over-year decline for U.S. foodservice in 2020 is between 11% and 27%, according to a new white paper by CSP’s sister research firm, Technomic. All but 10 U.S. states have halted dine-in eating and 12 states have enacted stay-at-home orders, both of which have hindered the sales of and visitation to U.S. foodservice establishments.

“All [foodservice] segments are impacted by the increasing number of municipalities and states enacting shelter-in-place orders,” Technomic said.

Consumer concern of coronavirus has also dented foodservice sales. As of March 13, more than half (53%) of U.S. consumers said that they will not eat out as often because of COVID-19—a jump from 32% on March 6, according to Technomic. Beyond that, 48% of consumers on March 13 said they will likely not order food or beverages away from home as often compared to 31% on March 6.

Foodservice Revenue

Operators that are surviving are doing so through takeout and delivery. As of March 13, a quarter of consumers said they will order via delivery more often because of COVID-19, while only 13% said the same March 6, according to Technomic. Also, 27% said as of March 13 that they will order more food from drive-thrus. There was no data for this on March 6.

“There are specific considerations that industry participants must take to weather the storm and be in a better position when we all get to the other side,” Technomic said. “For operators, the decision they face is in regard to pivoting toward takeout and delivery (with many who have little experience in this area) vs. an entire shutdown.”

Technomic’s considerations for foodservice suppliers include being transparent regarding their response to COVID-19; adjusting plans based on lower industry volume expectations; and exploring micro-niche opportunities, including products that are more conducive to delivery.

Technomic will release weekly updates from original research as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold.

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