Contract Catering | Switzerland

Dramatic year of contraction

Due to restrictions, the chairs in many company restaurants remained unoccupied on many days.
Due to restrictions, the chairs in many company restaurants remained unoccupied on many days.

The Corona crisis is having an impact: in 2020, the top 5 catering companies in Switzerland suffered an unprecedented 46.1 percent drop in sales (top 36 -37.5%).

The net turnover of the top 5 catering companies was just over CHF 822 million. They show an absolute sales deficit of CHF 702.8 million compared to 2019. The main reason is the shift of professionals to home offices. In addition, major events/events, corporate parties, etc. were cancelled in 2020; on top of this, the industry was hit by two lockdowns with a total of more than ten weeks of closures. In addition, there were further restrictions on indoor restaurant space, curfews, restrictions on people at tables and in rooms.

Despite the crisis, in 2020 the caterers were able to expand the number of operations by +22 to 1,099 compared to the previous year; 8,406 employees (VZ) were employed - the possibility of short-time compensation from the state was used in many cases.

A rapid acceleration in the Corona year 2020 experienced trends such as digitalization, home office, new eating habits and awareness of sustainably produced food rapidly, so the SV Group sums up the learning effects in the first Corona year for all. "These trends will change the market permanently." Overall, it is noticeable that the caterers worked intensively on new online shop, take-away and delivery service solutions and launched many new formats here in order to keep frequency and sales losses reasonably in check.

The players in the individual analysis

1 SV Group Switzerland. Once again, the catering and hotel management group SV Group Switzerland - with its core business in the catering/community catering segment and more than 100 years in the market - holds its own in third place in the ranking.

Regarding the 2020 gastro results and the 2021 outlook, it says: "SV Group is reporting a large loss for 2020. 2020 and likely 2021 will be remembered as a tough break. Innovations and drastic measures will not be enough to make up for the losses." However, thanks to far-reaching cost-cutting measures in all business areas, the company said it had used the Corona crisis as an opportunity to strengthen its competitiveness in the long term. As a result, SV Group generated gastro sales (net, estimated) of CHF 270 million in 2020 (-47.7% y-o-y). The number of restaurants was expanded by 6 units to 331.

New business models were developed/expanded: Andiamo Delivery delivered to offices, Emil@Home brought the employee restaurant to the home office and Sesh and Brix were two new restaurant concepts launched in the Corona year, a bowl concept with all-natural ingredients and a premium burger format using Swiss beef, the company said. Elsewhere, however, it was also saying goodbye. In September 2021, SV Group sold its event catering noble brand Dine & Shine to its former CEO Nicolai Squarra.

2 Groupe Eldora. Eldora AG, Switzerland's fifth-largest gastro player and second-largest company in the community catering sector, offers catering services in companies, retirement homes, hospitals, universities and schools. Take-away services are also part of its repertoire.

In 2020, Groupe Eldora generated gastronomic sales (net) of CHF 207.9 million (-40.9% y-o-y) in 291 restaurants (-6 y-o-y). A slight recovery and a sales magnitude of CHF 218 million are expected in 2022.

3 ZFV. Number 7 in the overall ranking shows the segment's largest decline of -48.6 percent, while adding the highest number of new establishments of +13 compared to 2019 (2020: 190 establishments). Absolute revenues: CHF 146.6 million. "In 2020, we rapidly developed innovative solutions, such as hotel rooms for home offices and delivery options, and launched various innovation projects," it said.

The changes in the world of work, e.g. increased work in home offices, will be felt in the long term, it said. That is why the company is working on new concepts and business models that are adapted to the "new normal". "Short-time work and hardship compensation were and will continue to be an important financial support in 2021." Also noticeable in 2021: significantly increased demand for take-away, delivery and packaged offerings, as well as increasing guest focus on local and sustainable products. ZFV is also positioning itself more broadly for the future. In September 2021, the cooperative organized company entered the daycare business. In September, it acquired Kimi Krippen AG, one of the largest players in childcare in Switzerland, as well asTacadis AG, a caterer specializing in children's meals.

4 Compass Group Switzerland. CHF 109 million in gastro sales (estimated), just under CHF 100 million below the previous year, were generated in 152 establishments (same as previous year). The financial year is characterized as follows: "Unforeseen changes in the business situation. High degree of flexibility required and practiced by all sides. Opportunity to drive some trends and developments (digitalization) faster." A lot of flexibility and resilience was demanded from the employees and they were proud of how everyone coped with the situation as a team, according to the positive summary.

5 Sodexo Suisse. Estimated gastro sales were CHF 89 million (-45.7% y-o-y) in 135 establishments (+9 y-o-y). Novae Restauration joined the company in November 2018, acquired with 80 units and 700 employees. In 2020, 50 Sodexo and 85 Novae units contributed to the overall result. No information from the company.