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Reflections on the global restaurant industry


I do not like to end this 2016 sin compartir una visión de los most relevant aspects of the restaurant industry, but with a global dimension. In this globalized world it is essential to have all the necessary references of the major trends that are happening in the sector to make the right decisions.

For it I'll lean on a report to which I have had access and that has been developed by the company asesoramiento internacional AlixPartners.

The study was conducted on 4.600 diners from nine countries, namely Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom and United States. He also interviewed more than 40 executives from different restaurant concepts with a total turnover exceeding 90 billion, for comment on global consumer trends in the restaurant industry.

Some of The most relevant reflections I draw from this report are as follows:

El cuidado de la calidad de los alimentos es el factor más determinante a nivel mundial en la industria de los restaurantes

The food quality is key, more than one 62% of respondents he said freshly made with fresh, local ingredients make up the most important food item to choose a restaurant. Más de la mitad también contestó que no quería que en su comida hubieran ingredientes artificiales o conservantes.

Sustainability also gains importance, both ingredients with sustainable origin and packaging them.

The most important local foods are fruits and vegetables, followed by fish and shellfish.


El precio sigue siendo una variable clave en los clientes para elegir un restaurante

The price is very important for diners and the global trend towards a reduction in spending is fixed at 10$ less for food, although the reason for this reduction differs depending on the country.

A 35% of the participants looking to eat at cheaper restaurants and a 34% They are using coupons, promotions and other discounts to economize meals. Most said they would continue this trend in the coming year, in particular more than one 70% in China and Brazil. The price is more valued by customers at chain restaurants element, followed by the speed of service and use of technology.


Customer traffic in restaurants differ depending on the country

In general the frequency of consumers in restaurants is high in all countries surveyed. Certainly the food and dinner are the two most popular shifts worldwide.

The most going to reduce the number of visits to restaurants are customers of United States and South Korea, instead the more will increase their visits are consumers in Brazil, Italy and China, and as relevant data, only the latter said they expected to spend more money at restaurants.

How healthy is fashionable in all corners of the world Restaurants

It is clearly a global trend, with more than 90% of respondents indicating that how healthy is a priority. Los comensales de Italia y China son los que más relevancia le dan a este aspecto etiquetándolo mayoritariamente como “extremely important” O “very important”. The UK and Japan were the least interested.

Restaurants already part of the new lifestyle of the population

Changes in lifestyle mark the different patterns of economic growth that directly affect Feeding Habits. He 30% meals are now “on the progress”, that is to say, prepared or packaged foods and that will grow around the 3% until the 2021.

Restaurants want capture these customers They will have to adapt to them with better and faster service. Although it is certainly an absolutely price sensitive market.

The United States is producing an increase in supermarket prices which it has pushed many consumers to buy prepared foods in grocery stores or restaurants, provided that these prices are correct.

Another decisive factor in the Habits are changing deliveries food delivery. Consumers have a stroke restaurants click on their smartphones. In the United States the use of these systems doubled between the years 2010 Y 2015, India and Brazil grows 20% and in the UK it is expected that the market for food delivery triple for the year 2020.

The correlation between investment in technology this trend and increased market demand is quite straightforward, new companies registered more of 1.000 million quarterly investment in the previous year.

The “Glocal” it becomes increasingly important

Large global chains are gaining ground in local markets around the world mainly because they can customize and personalize their menus to local tastes. In Italy 78% consumers choose the Italian version of the McDonalds burger.

Está adaptación al mercado no se basa solamente en el menú sino que It extends beyond, other elements comprising como la distribución o estructura del restaurante, hiring employees and providing local ingredients.

Uno de los grandes retos de la cadenas es su ability to adapt to the market, el cliente ha de sentir una experiencia similar a un restaurante independiente pero la cadena debe tener una gestión y una operativa global muy eficiente.

Estas cadenas pueden invertir grandes cantidades de dinero en tecnología y marketing digital que permitirá generate greater influx of customers through their loyalty programs. In South Korea 73% consumers use these programs and 68% in China.

The restaurant design is a differential factor

Another element to take into account is the aesthetic appearance of the restaurants, in Germany, a 40% said the modern look of a restaurant is a factor in choosing it.

Muchas cadenas mundiales están lanzando planes y programas de renovación para conseguir diseños y ambientes más actuales en sus restaurantes.

Growth passes internationalization

Dentro de los encuestados habían más de 60 operators representing more than 40 concepts different restaurants and more than 100.000 points of sale worldwide.

Estos ven como una international growth priority. potentially very attractive countries are: U.S, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. On the other hand it seems to be getting colder South Korea, Brazil and Russia.


Internationalization passed mainly through the seeking qualified partners in destination countries who know the intricacies of each of the markets, although there are other alternatives to seek internationalization process efficiency.

Some other ideas:

  • Increased partnerships between brands or those non-traditional competitors to identify and reduce development costs.
  • The removing frozen food imports and creating recipes that can be made from scratch with local ingredients.
  • Greater leverage with global suppliers that can support development and be more competitive in international markets
  • increase support for local teams to adapt to changing consumer needs

Definitely, it seems that we are facing a globally complex environment with hardly predictable internal and external factors that create uncertainty in the sector, where ever diners are more demanding, less loyal and more interactive. Lo que sí parece claro es que the global commitment is to quality in food, in raw materials and the final product, covered by a new lifestyle where restaurants become part of a relevant level in the food pyramid de los ciudadanos y que le exige a estos conocer aquello que van a comer y disponen de la tecnología necesaria para acceder a esta información.

In this stage, the price / quality ratio which has been the perfect equation for so many years that many restaurants have successfully developed may begin to lose relevance thanks to a increased demand for new diners who are already looking for a unique experience and differential equation based on a new: pleasure / price.

Definitely, and recalling the title of my first book we face “A New Era in restaurants”.

If you want to know more details about this report contact

Reflections on the global restaurant industry
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About the Author

Diego Coquillat

Director and CEO of, teacher, consultant, lecturer and entrepreneur incorrigible. If you can not find it here, search near the sea. Passion for new technologies and restaurants ... passion for life.


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