Technomic has revised its forecasts for the rest of 2020 and into 2021, according to a news release the firm sent out this week. The reason for these new numbers? You guessed it: the pandemic. Speaking in this week’s announcement, Joe Pawlak, a managing principle at Technomic, said to expect “continued decline” in restaurant sales for the rest of the year but “aggressive growth” in 2021.
“Few industries have felt the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic quite like foodservice,” he wrote, adding that restrictions (e.g., reduced capacity, no bar seating) “are wreaking havoc, especially on the segments that depend upon on-premises consumption.”
In light of that, the firm has made revised forecasts based on Best, Middle, and Worst Case scenarios. While the bulk of those numbers are behind Technomic’s paywall, the firm did release some telling facts based on the new forecasts:
- Based on the Middle Case scenario, the restaurant industry will grow by 21 percent in 2021, but sales will still be down 11 percent compared to 2019 sales.
- The restaurant industry is expected to lose between $250 billion to nearly $300 billion in sales for 2020, depending on the scenario.
- QSRs are faring the best of any restaurant type at the moment; full-service restaurants and bars are struggling the most.
The firm also notes that the state of the industry’s prospects are “directly tied to medical advances related to COVID-19” such as a vaccine.
It’s no secret that spikes in COVID-19 cases are in part tied to the reopening of states’ economies, of which restaurants are a major part. Just this week, the New York Times noted that “Data from states and cities show that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars, often the largest settings to infect Americans.” In a separate article, it also noted that indoors, the six-feet-apart rule for social distancing is misleading because “people think they are protected indoors and they’re really not.” Little wonder, then, that the CDC lists indoor dining as the highest-risk setting of all restaurant formats for spreading of the virus. the virus becomes easier to spread at a restaurant that offers on-site dining, even with reduced table capacity, according to the CDC.
None of that makes for an exactly encouraging scenario restaurants face in the coming months. Even in a Best Case scenario, full recovery will be slow at best. As we putter towards that prospect, businesses are best advised to keep their foot on the gas when it comes to offering off-premises formats.