Flat growth in the Dutch eat and drink universe: which segments are the most impacted?

In this article we will analyze the growth trends in the Dutch Eat and Drink sector over the past years.

While the Dutch Eat and Drink sector has historically enjoyed an annual growth rate of 3% since 2017, the past year has seen the growth rate falling to 0% indicating a substantial shift in consumer preferences. Indeed, the onset of the global pandemic led to unprecedented challenges for the industry, impacting various segments differently. In this article, we will analyse which segments are the most impacted and which ones manage to generate growth.

Fast Casual restaurants

Our definition: a Fast Casual restaurant is a type of dining establishment that falls between fast-food and casual dining. Key characteristics of Fast Casual restaurants include limited/no service (self-service), high turnover rate of tables, lower price range, limited or themed menu (pancakes, pizza).

Despite the overall slowdown, we still see some growth for the Fast Casual restaurants. Since 2017, Fast Casual restaurant have been growing at a much faster rate than the industry, at an average of over 10% year on year. In the last year the number of outlets grew by 5%. Despite very positive, this segment is also showing signs of a slow down.

Social Dining restaurants

Our definition: social Dining restaurants designates dining establishments with full service, extensive menu and a higher price segment.

In contrast with Fast Casual restaurants, Social Dining restaurants are experiencing a notable decline. Having once adhered to industry-wide standards, these establishments are now witnessing a concerning dip, with a -1% decrease in the total number of active outlets over the past year. With financial uncertainty, customers may be more cautious in their spending, leading to a slower growth rate in social dining establishments where the overall cost of dining out tends to be higher.

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Our definition: bars & Pubs are entertainment venues where a wide range of drinks are served. The menu may be supplemented with appetisers and small meals, but it is very common to just order a drink.

Within the various segments, bars and pubs seem to have suffered the most, with a consistent decline since 2017 at a average rate of -2% year on year. The evolution of this segment from 2019 to 2023 further underscores the challenges faced by these establishments, with growth rates falling short of those seen in other parts of the Eat and Drink universe.

In conclusion, the dynamic changes in the Dutch Eat and Drink universe over the past five years shows a complex interplay of factors, from the global pandemic’s impact to evolving consumer preferences. While segments like Fast Casual restaurants showcase resilience and innovation, others, particularly bars and pubs, have more difficulties to generate growth.

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