Takeaways and fast food delivery has been and will continue to be very popular in the UK. We may choose to have food delivered to our homes for a variety of reasons. It can be a huge convenience if you have had a long day and you are too tired to cook, or it can be considered a social event with friends and family gathering around for a takeaway night. This was before the lockdown hit of course.
When the global pandemic hit many businesses and industries struggled, but a few thrived. The fast food delivery industry was one of them. With restaurants being closed and many people not being able to leave their homes, more and more people were opting to have food delivered to them. Just Eat, the online food ordering company, has posted a 44% year-on-year increase for the first half of 2020. This is hugely due to the lockdown, and with the Covid-19 pandemic still in full force there is a good chance the fast food industry will continue to grow during this time. With this in mind we have conducted our own survey asking 1000 people from the general public if they think they will spend more or less money than usual on takeaways throughout the rest of the year, with the pandemic in mind. We asked 1000 people the following question;
Thinking about the remainder of the year, do you think you will spend more or less on takeaways than you usually would due to the current Covid-19 pandemic? (Tick all that apply)
I think I will spend more on takeaways than usual as I believe restaurants will be closed later in the year.
I think I will spend more on takeaways than usual as I am uncomfortable going to restaurants at the moment.
I think I will spend more on takeaways than usual for another reason, please specify.
I think I will spend less on takeaways than usual as I bought too many during lockdown and need to cut back.
I think I will spend less on takeaways that usual as I want to get out more now that restaurants are open.
I think I will spend less on takeaways than usual for another reason, please specify.
Takeaway Survey Results
The graph below shows the answers the public gave to our survey. The results clearly indicate that the majority of people think they would continue to spend more money on takeaways than they would on average.
The lockdown this year has proven to work out very well for the fast food industry, which then means it has been a very successful year for fast food delivery insurance companies. More people have sought work as a fast food delivery driver, which means they would require specialist insurance to carry out this work. With it looking as though takeaway services will continue to thrive throughout the rest of the year, then this may also mean good news for the insurance industry.
UK’s favourite fast food
Below we have included a table that shows the UK’s most popular fast food based on Google searches. We have shown how many Google searches have appeared each month from February 2020 to August 2020. In most cases you can see an increase in searches during lockdown. The Google searches we have used is a total of searches including the word takeaway or delivery. For example we have used the searches for ‘Pizza Delivery’ and ‘Pizza Takeaway’ and combined the numbers.
Looking at this table you can clearly see the increase in people searching for takeaway or delivery service during the lockdown months. The big brands such as Mcdonald’s and Nando’s were more popular than generic takeaway searches such as searching for Chinese or Indian food. Although there are specific months where this was not the case, for example in April, which was during the height of the lockdown, there were only 49,500 searches for McDonalds delivery as opposed to 264,100 Google searches for Chinese delivery. I do not think much can be read into this though, as during lockdown many of the big companies, like McDonalds closed down completely, whereas local takeaway places stayed open and many people were aware of this.
Most of the Google searches listed on the table above have huge increase in numbers over the lockdown period, and this is no coincidence. There was a greater need for people to have food delivered to their houses during the pandemic, and even though many restaurants are now open to visit, the food delivery industry is still thriving and you can see the interest from the public in the table. The pandemic is not over, many people still do not want to leave their house, and November see’s us thrown into a national lock down yet again. While this is still the case, it feels safe to say that the fast food industry will continue to reap the benefits.
Rise in popularity for the major fastfood delivery platforms
It is not just the fast food restaurants themselves that benefit, major fast food platforms such as Deliveroo, JustEast and UberEats have also seen a huge increase in people using their services. Below are charts showing the number of Google searches for these platforms.
You can see a huge spike during March and April but even since then the Google searches for Deliveroo in August was up 1,500,000 compared to January's 1,000,000, which is up 50%
Same with Deliveroo, UberEats has seen a sharp rise of Google searches over this year. It may be the least popular of the 3 main fast food delivery platforms, but it has had 105,000 Google searches each month from May to August. Compare this to 57,400 searches in January this year, which is a rise of around 82%
The biggest of the 3 main fast food delivery platforms, JustEat also saw a sharp rise in Google searches in the lockdown months and has also seen an increase of 50% in searches in August compared to January. There were 5,000,000 Google searches in January and a massive 7,500,000 searches for 3 months in a row from June through to August.
Looking at all the above data, from the table and the graphs, there is a clear correlation between the pandemic and the rise in popularity of the fast food industry. It does not look like it is going to slow down anytime soon.
Average household spend on takeaway food
It is not just the pandemic that has caused the rise in people ordering fast food, the pandemic has only accelerated it. The growth of the fast food industry was happening anyway. Below is a graph showing the collective household spend on takeaways in the UK. This data was sourced from Statista
As you can see above there has been a steady increase, year after year on the money spent on takeaways in the UK. If this followed the same pattern, which is very likely, then the fast food industry would have seen more steady growth in 2020. The pandemic has created a greater need for people to have food delivered to their house and it has only pushed this increase further.
It is reported that, on average, we spend £451 a year per person on takeaway food. This works out around 34 takeaway meals per year. This does not take into account the current global pandemic which has clearly led to more meals being delivered to homes than usual.