Fast Food Industry Update00001

The U.K’s Fast Food Industry is experiencing a fast-food frenzy as people and the economy continues to recover from the pandemic. Now the world is moving forward, what does the future of fast food in the U.K. look like.

A new report finds that the value of the U.K.’s restaurant sector is expecting to grow by more than 32% and reach £11.7 billion in 2021. Customers are motivated and eager to get back to dining out and forgetting about dishes after eating three meals per day at home for the past year and a half. 40% of surveyed Brits already feel confident to eat out regardless of contactless ordering and payment options.

Fast Food Industry Stats and Growth Projections in 2021

Here are some quick facts about fast food and its projected growth for 2021:

Increase in foot traffic, stack of biscuits to show growth.

• Burger King experienced a whopping 18.5% increase in foot traffic by adding the Impossible Whooper in 2019.
• Mobile orders for fast food have increased by 23 per cent since first implemented. Forecasters expect that figure will triple in 2021.
• The total foodservice delivery market was worth approximately 8.5 billion pounds in 2019 — thanks to the rise of online delivery solutions.

Trends that Will Shape Fast Food in 2021 and Beyond

There are a lot of fast food trends and expansions emerging in 2021 in the world of fast food, including:

Enhanced Focus on Health and Safety in Fast Food Industry

Child having hands cleaned in kitchen. Used to show increased hygiene in fast food industry.

One of the most significant shifts facing businesses since the global pandemic is a greater focus on health and safety, from Employees wearing masks in addition to gloves during the food preparation process to temperature checks for all employees and customers entering restaurants. Not to mention ample use of hand sanitiser and limiting contact with customers. Even though the fast-food industry was hot on hygiene, they’ve stepped up a gear and are prioritising it even further… Since most measures aren’t visible to drive-through customers, fast food companies will also be more transparent and open about their health and safety measures; expect to see signage describing safety guidelines, ads, email campaigns, and social media posts.

The Continued Expansion of Vegan Options

Picture of vegan food next to paragrah about how fast food industry is moving towards vegan appetites.

If it seems to you like every fast food restaurant is reeling a “beyond” or “impossible burger” and other meat options, it’s because they are! Veganism is experiencing a boom right now across Britain, and restaurants are cashing in. Restaurants that already offer vegan options will continue to add more throughout 2021 and beyond.

The Fast Food Industry Expansion of Delivery Services

Picture of fast food delivery man on moped.

Once seen as a luxury, food delivery became an essential service as restaurants shut and grocery store queues became unbearable. Food delivery is something that people are not willing to let go of, even post-pandemic. For those reasons, restaurants are expanding their delivery services, either in-house or with services like Uber Eats and GrubHub. You can even order McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Nando’s and have it delivered to your front door (and sometimes the delivery is even contactless).
Competition in the delivery space is growing even fiercer as high-end restaurants hop on the takeaway and delivery trend to keep up with demand and bounce back after quarantine closures. Even as restaurants reopen, capacity is limited due to social distancing guidelines, meaning many customers will still count on takeaway and delivery.

Self-Ordering

cartoon man walking towards self service kiosk in fast food industry

Fast food has always been convenient, which is a massive factor in its popularity. Self-ordering makes it even more convenient and takes out the need for human interaction (which, after lock-down, many of us are still trying to avoid). With self-ordering, customers can quickly and conveniently place their order online for quick pickup, and in some cases, delivery. This technology makes the entire process that much quicker while also cutting down on lines.

A Big Appetite for Community

Lockdowns forced people into isolation and kept many of us away from loved ones for extended periods. It also highlighted the importance and meaningfulness of consumers. People missed eating out with friends, family, and even first dates. As a nation, Brits love eating out and sharing a delicious meal with friends and family. That craving for a sense of community is something fast food joints are considering. For example, Burger King is looking for new ways to foster community. Earlier this year, it sent hundreds of free Whoppers to U.K. streets so the recipient would be encouraged to share with their neighbours in an attempt to promote the community spirit that blossomed for most Brits during lockdown.

Smart Appliances Gain Traction

A lot of business owners are trying to incorporate energy-efficient appliances and products at work. A lot of fast-food restaurants are implementing ‘smart’ applications to help conserve energy. For example, many kitchens are adding specially designed machinery to cook food quicker, which con-verses energy and optimises efficiency. Some applications can even use wifi to communicate with team members. All of these ‘smart’ appliances conserve energy and boost efficiency.

Say Hello to Artificial Intelligence

Nearly every industry is deploying some form of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), including the fast-food industry. For example, voice-command features that allow customers to order food are expected to be rolled out in the near future. Since A.I. technology is intuitive, customers will be able to place their orders and receive recommendations from the A.I. bot.

Even better, voice recognition makes ordering fast food even simpler because the bot will instantly remember your previous orders once it hears your voice — the future is (almost) here!

There are not many industries that the global pandemic has not touched, and fast food is certainly no different. The good news is, a lot of the shifts caused by COVID-19 are very consumer-friendly and will lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling fast food experience — whether you’re dining in, ordering takeaway, or going through the drive-through.