Technomic details the global impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry and its four phases of recovery

Technomic explores the effects of the pandemic on a global scale, including economic updates, differences between segments or regions and the framework for recovery

CHICAGO, June 2, 2020—Technomic dove into its global data to share the damage that COVID-19 has had on the global restaurant industry as well as shed light on how suppliers, operators and distributors can start mapping out their post-pandemic playbook on the road to recovery. Technomic experts predict that the global restaurant business will lose nearly USD$600 billion in consumer spending in 2020, a loss of 25%-30% of total restaurant sales compared to 2019. Economic growth is forecasted to return in 2021 but likely not until the second quarter or later. 

Full-service restaurants are expected to see a much larger impact than limited service. Major global chains may continue to take share from smaller, more local players and accelerate the “globalization” of the industry, particularly in the limited-service space. 

The impact of the pandemic varies regionally:

  • Asian economies addressed the pandemic earlier in 2020 and took hits in the first and second quarters, but restaurants are currently faring better there than other parts of the world
  • The U.S. had more success relying on drive-thru and off-premise sales than Europe, where many countries led to a complete shutdown of restaurant activity
  • Europe is expected to face further challenges as tourism will be down in the summer and fall of 2020 
  • South Africa will start easing restrictions after having enacted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns but, like Latin America, slower growth had been expected in this region even before the pandemic  
  • Australia and the Middle East experienced less severe repercussions than other areas

“The restaurant industry has taken a huge hit on a global scale, causing operators to get creative on promotions and innovate their menus to stay afloat,” explains David Henkes, senior principal at Technomic. “In terms of reopening and recovery, we predict there will be four phases that the industry will go through: survival, start, strengthen and surge. It will take years for the industry to go through these phases and for restaurants to bounce back, as well as varying by market, but this framework should be considered a starting point for any company building a recovery plan for their business.”

In Technomic’s full “Four S” process of recovery, the company includes a description of each phase, what the industry should expect and actions the industry should take. The phases are as follows:

  1. Survival: containment and minimization of damage
  2. Start: tiered reopening
  3. Strengthen: industry recovery
  4. Surge: investment and growth 

Technomic will continue to monitor how the industry is moving into these phases and conduct a long-term forecast analysis through its Global Foodservice Navigator Program. Covering 25 markets, the program is an exclusive membership for chain operators, manufacturers and distributors, offering access to global insights, strategies and trends. Learn more: 

Contact: David Henkes, 1 (312) 506-3927, 

About Technomic
Technomic, Inc., a Winsight company, was founded as a management consulting firm in 1966. Since then, Technomic’s services have grown to encompass cloud-based B2B research tools, consumer and menu trend tracking, as well as other leading strategic research and analytic capabilities, to prioritize and size business opportunities. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants, retailers and multiple other business verticals aligned with the food industry that are looking to make informed decisions to support their business growth. Visit Technomic at

About Winsight
Winsight LLC is a business-to-business information company serving the restaurant and noncommercial foodservice, convenience and petroleum retailing and grocery industries. Winsight provides research and analytics, branding solutions, face-to-face opportunities, lead generation initiatives, and content marketing services through products including subscription data products, reports, research tools, research programs, fully custom studies, conferences, custom marketing services, meetings, print and digital trade media. To learn more, visit

Winsight LLC is a portfolio company of Pamlico Capital.

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