Another quarter has passed during which Brexit has happened. Working at Jellybean Creative Solutions, a leading foodservice pr agency, we were keen to learn what impact this would have on the eating-out-market and hear from MCA on their key findings from their panellist of 6000 consumers.

The out of home market, pre-Brexit, showed itself to be surprisingly resilient, increasing in the level of participation, frequency of visits and average spend. The current value of the market currently stands at £87.1bn for 2016, comprising 331,384 outlets, with retail, travel and leisure expected to grow by 5.2% this year to a value of £19.5bn. Hotels, pubs and restaurants is the largest sector making up 72% of sales, but only expected to grow by 1.5% this year.

Fine dining appears to have suffered most from the uncertainty of Brexit falling from 6.7% growth in 2015 to an expected growth rate of only 4% in 2016. Value and convenience focused channels are seeing the strongest growth with branded contemporary fast food, street food and convenience store grab & go offerings noted as the top three.

Turnover growth for 2016 across the market is 2.3%, down from 2.5% last year with outlet growth set to slow down to 0.8% from 1.0% in 2015 due to difficulty in finding sites and weakening business confidence.

The current competitive landscape indicates that the top ten establishments in casual restaurants, pubs and fast food are facing challenges from more innovative operators. Contemporary fast food outlets such as Five Guys, Barburrito, Leon and Itsu are increasing market share and expanding their outlets outside of London due to the high rents and lack of available sites in London, whilst the top 10 pub establishments are slowing down their growth in outlets.

Coffee outlets are continuing to grow with the top three, Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero accounting for 82% of the top 10. However, they are diversifying the brands in order to counteract brand fatigue, Costa Fresco being one example of this.

Pre-Brexit coffee shops and pubs benefitted from an increase in terms of share of visits, with coffee shops being the strongest channel. There has been a definite change in the reasons consumers visit coffee shops with the key drivers being a social gathering/occasion, a specific food offering, regular routine and convenience. Consumer expectations are higher than ever and they have never had it so good. However, post Brexit the need for value must be balanced against the demand for terms of quality and experience.

Brexit has had the most impact on younger customers who feel that there is an increase in uncertainty with job security and a decrease in pay rises, which has left them being more cautious when spending their money. This will likely manifest itself in them eating out less.

However, it is still this target market who use home delivery more and are the reason street food continues to grow. Introducing street food style options on menus is still one of the opportunities being highlighted.

The expected growth for the eating out market is set to slow down from 2.5% in 2015 to 2.3% in 2016 due to weakening consumer confidence. The fastest growing market segments will be the lower ticket channels with consumers having tighter budgets.

In summary the impact of Brexit will be negative on the growth of the Eating Out market. Those that will respond the best will be the operators who are better equipped to deliver to the heightened demands of their consumers around price vs quality vs experience.

Thank you to MCA for a very informative debrief. If you weren’t able to attend and these snippets have peaked your interest you can find out more at

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