Quality over quantity and possible price premiums

Since the start of UK lockdown, the only survival mechanism for foodservice operators is takeaway and delivery. The latest HIM MCA Menu Tracker Monthly report analyses delivery menus, dishes available and their prices using data collected during peak-quarantine in April 2020.

According to HIM MCA Channel Pulse, delivery take-up lagged behind market expectations and consumer own intentions, as UK adults happily took on cooking from scratch for both health reasons and economic factors such as price and food waste. Growth in the channel was only recorded in week eight of lockdown, in line with some bigger players, such as KFC, reopening for delivery.

Having a treat is the primary reason consumers order delivery. These treats come at a cost, especially if using a delivery specialist such as Domino’s or Pizza Hut. Despite a lot of these brands applying a discount before confirming the order, our Menu Tracker analysis shows that the average price charged by delivery players is 47% higher than that of fast food operators, suggesting some upside pricing headroom. With no on-site occasions possible, higher price points will certainly not deter consumers, hungry for their favourite dishes during these unusual times.

Serving the treat occasion without budget constrains targets multi-person offerings. Our research crowned SushiMania the winner for highest priced individual main dishes. Family gatherings, and hopefully soon small friendship group gatherings, will be perfect occasions to splash out on Sushi Deluxe at £80 or on £30 plus large group deals that are common amongst pizza chains.        

For consumers with most varied household opinions, traditional fast food chains, including Chicken Cottage, Pepe’s Piri Piri and Wimpy, are the best option, as their dish count averages at 81, despite not offering starters or desserts. Branded restaurants also offer variety, with dish count averaging at 64. However, smaller kitchen capacities and social distancing rules made some brands reduce their menus to only key dishes – this approach was preferred by brands offering delivery for the first time in lockdown.

The importance of food quality and taste remains, so not over-compromising quality over quantity to please wider audiences will be key. The best balance might be achieved somewhere between 65 mains from the Fast Food giant Dixy Chicken, and 5 from the independent restaurant The Shrub and Shutter.


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