Corporate Strategies in Consumer Foodservice: Shifting Priorities and the Challenges for Chains

Across the globe, consumer expectations for chained foodservice are changing, especially in the fastest growing international markets many chains hope to grow.


Key findings

  • Global foodservice stabislises
  • Foodservice localisation trends greater than ever
  • China remains key market for growth
  • Eating”better” is a global phenomenon
  • Modern foodservice options for modern consumers


Expansion Strategies in a Changing Global Environment

Chained foodservice still makes up a very small portion of the global market, but saturated conditions and limited growth potential in the developed markets where most of the largest chains are concentrated have forced operators to expand abroad to maintain growth targets.

International expansion is a key component of current corporate strategies, but the strategies themselves have shifted to accommodate the needs and preferences of a more modern global consumer.


China remains Asia’s most lucrative foodservice market

No other single market has contributed more to global foodservice value growth than China, Asia’s largest market by population, and largest market in terms of consumer spend on foodservice.

As China’s economy matures, however, growth is slowing. While there is more money to spend on foodservice, the “all players win” story has become more complex. Market conditions are evolving rapidly as the needs and preferences of the average consumer change, so foodservice strategies that have worked well in the past are becoming less relevant.


C-stores offer a glimpse of the modern experience consumers need

C-stores are mixed format spaces with particularly broad appeal, a one-stop shop of on-trade and off-trade goods that service multiple dayparts. C-stores leverage a growing global demand for convenience in all things, especially in fast-paced urban environments where eating on the go is often a necessity, if not a preference.

Foodservice offerings from c-stores are particularly well developed in Japan, and tellingly, the top three foodservice brands based outside North America are all Japan based – but very global – convenience store chains, namely 7- Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart, respectively.


“Better” dining experiences

Healthy lifestyles have been important to consumers for years, but in foodservice, health trends have intensified to take on a more holistic meaning. Consumers are no longer simply looking for healthier menu items, they are looking for better and more healthful experiences when dining out.

Consumers have become more discerning in the meals and concepts they choose to spend on, forcing global foodservice operators to take another look at menu offerings and supply chains, and to provide a “better” dining experience. In many ways, dining out is still an indulgence for most consumers, so counting calories or seeking out diet-driven menus has become less important. Consumers, however, justify the indulgence by ensuring it is better, and better dining experiences hinge on trust.