39th Foodservice Forum/ Top 100

Pandemic year leaves its mark - 29.8% sales decline

Gretel Weiß presents the Top 100 of the German professional gastronomy.
Screenshot foodservice
Gretel Weiß presents the Top 100 of the German professional gastronomy.

Digital for the first time, but at the same time a proven ritual: Gretel Weiß opens the 39th International Foodservice Forum with the Top 100 Ranking of the German professional gastronomy in front of around 1,000 participants. "An external influence called Covid-19 has slowed down the companies of this industry in 2020 ... a turnover disaster for the vast majority", the industry expert states. Once again, the current industry survey of the business journal foodservice offers a lot of analytical power in addition to the facts.

The industry balance sheet 2020 clearly reflects the extent of the impact of the Covid 19 virus on the top of the German professional gastronomy. A 29.8 per cent drop in turnover and just under €10.7 bn in net sales across 20,286 establishments for the Top 100, that's the new reality in 2020 after a peak year in 2019 with 6.1 per cent growth.

Important to know: Covid-related, restaurants were closed on over 110 days out of 365; the exception being take-away and delivery services. The year also saw short-time work, home office and homeschooling - additional complicating work and mobility restrictions.

"The conditions at the top of the market have become new and different", emphasises Gretel Weiß, publisher of foodservice (dfv-Mediengruppe). For many years - more than 30 times there have been mostly positive development key figures to report - the industry expert analyzes and weights the Top 100. This year's title: Signpost. Potentials. Spaces for action.

Top 100 compared to the entire gastronomy industry

The Top 100 performed better than the entire gastronomy industry, for which the data of the Federal Statistical Office 2020 show minus values of 35 percent in real terms and 32 percent in nominal terms. Why? Because the top 100 mix is dominated by quick service players, which performed better than the rest of the market segments in 2020, thus shifting the picture, while quick service companies are a comparatively smaller player in the overall German gastronomy field.

2020: The largest companies/systems in the catering industry in Germany¹⁾

R19CompanySales '20 (m €)Units '20Units FR²)
11McDonald's Deutschland LLC, München3.150,0*1.4481.357
22Burger King Deutschland GmbH, Hannover860,0*750640
34Autobahn Tank & Rast GmbH, Bonn375,0*414395
414Domino's Pizza Deutschland GmbH, Hamburg290345329
55Yum! Restaurants International Ltd. & Co. KG, Ratingen285,7262252
66Edeka Zentrale AG & Co. KG, Hamburg235,0*2.1000
713Aral AG (BP Europa SE), Bochum2311.1551.155
89Subway GmbH, Köln230,0*692692
93LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG, Neu-Isenburg3)4)200,0*110
1012Ikea Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Hofheim-Wallau189,5540

For subscribers only: The complete 2020 Top 100 list (in German) Read now!

Plus and minus makers

At the end of 2020, the sun was shining for 11 of the Top 100, as Gretel Weiß puts it, while 88 were in the shade. One company with zero growth (Peter Pane). "In peak years, zero growth gets the label puny, this year, though, the label excellent," Weiß points out.

Top 10 - who holds their own

"Among the Top 10, the global players with long-established systems and learned brands now dominate even more strongly," notes Gretel Weiß. Seven names are consistently present compared to last year (McDonald's, Burger King, Tank & Rast, Yum!, Edeka, Subway and LSG). Valora, SSP and Nordsee dropped out of the top ten. Domino's Pizza was able to climb upwards, in fact the pizza delivery chain worked its way up from 14th to 4th place as the strongest climber in the top 10. Aral and Ikea also made it into the top ten. LSG slipped from 3rd to 9th rank. "Predictable, as Lufthansa is in the process of completely divesting the business of its catering subsidiary peu à peu," says Weiß.

Detailed look at the top duo

Together, McDonald's and Burger King represent nearly 2,200 locations and a good 4 billion euros in market volume, almost 60 percent of the entire quick service category. Market leader McDonald's also had to accept a minus for 2020 after a 5.9 percent plus in the previous year: -14.3 percent (estimates). "Tremendous the leverage effect of the number 1 on the key figures of the top 100," comments Gretel Weiß. Burger King also saw a drop in revenues, with a minus of 12.7 percent (estimated value), a slightly better performance than its competitor.

Striking developments at McDonald's:
  • Massive business shift, mainly towards auto counters.
  • Growth perspective is on "drive, deliver and digital".
  • In 2021, McDonald's Germany celebrates its 50th birthday.

Market Segment Analysis

In the Top 100 field, the strongest submarkets by revenue are considered to be quick service (63 % of Top 100 revenue) and traffic c atering (19 %), followed by full service, retail, leisure and event catering with single-digit percentages.

In 2020, the quick service submarket became even more dominant (previous year: 55 %), with the market penetration of US formats increasing significantly. Traffic, on the other hand, shrank. "After years of massive expansion of concepts in these locations, many of these prime locations abruptly became flop spaces in 2020. Logically!", says Gretel Weiß, "at airports and train stations, the drops in frequency were most severe!"

The quick service gastronomy segment came through the year best
, here the losses turned out to be the smallest (18 % decline in turnover with minus 1.2 % establishments), - the only area with better development figures than the Top 100 average. The mass bestsellers burgers and pizza as well as the sales channels to-go and delivery are special features of this segment, - and at the same time pushing factors. Double-digit growth: delivery specialists. Quickservice and traffic together account for four-fifths of all revenues in the Top 100. Biggest loser: the event catering segment.
Speaking of delivery specialists: despite a drop in sales of 4.5 billion euros in the Top 100, there are expected plus-makers. In addition to Domino's Pizza, these include Call a Pizza, Smiley's, Burgerme and Freddy Fresh.

Trend messages 2020

"Packed into three words, the strongest trend message is: Enjoy local at home!", emphasises Gretel Weiß, quoting a Swabian restaurateur.
  • At home represents the sales channels take-away and delivery.
  • Local stands for the growing awareness of regionally produced goods.
  • Enjoyment symbolizes the increased culinary demand. "Enjoyment is and remains the strongest gastronomic motor."

Outlook 2021

According to Gretel Weiß, the magic words for mastering the situation in and out of the Covid 19 crisis are the following: Distribution channels, hybrid solutions with "both/and rather than either/or claims", a fresh combination of what has been learned & what is new, and discarding rigid patterns.

"It's all about opportunities that we didn't have on our radar before. Private demand will recover quickly after the abandonment experiences of 2020. There has been an immense increase in the appreciation of the restaurant industry as the public living room of our society. Consumer have achieved a new perspective on quality and prices - a great opportunity for the restaurant industry!"

The ranking of Germany's largest restaurateurs is an exclusive survey by the trade magazine foodservice (dfv Mediengruppe). Analysis/texts: Gretel Weiß, documentation: Susanne Günther.

Only for subscribers the complete Top 100 analysis will be published in the April issue of foodservice. Become a subscriber or test it for free? This way.