France | Ranking Foodservice

"Chains have suffered less"

McDonald's store in Paris during lockdown in 2020.
IMAGO / Hans Lucas
McDonald's store in Paris during lockdown in 2020.

In France, too, the effects of the Corona pandemic left devastating marks on the balance sheets of the foodservice industry in 2020. The French trade magazine B.R.A. Tendances Restauration determined a minus of 30 percent in its sales analysis of the largest gastronomy businesses in France, which included a total of 220 companies in 2020.

Per unit, the decrease in turnover was even stronger with 31.5 percent. In the previous year, this had still grown by 2.7 percent, the total increase of the companies included in the ranking had increased by 6.9 percent. In view of these figures, it is little consolation that the number of units in the "Hexagone" rose by 2.3 percent. The average receipt was also 2.7 percent higher than in 2019.

Compared to the 47 percent drop in sales for the country's entire commercial catering industry, which was determined by the French research and consulting institute Food Service Vision in the "Révue Stratégique Food Service & Covid-19" for 2020, the 30 percent drop in the top 220 still looks tolerable. "The chain restaurant market has suffered less overall and has been more resilient than the independent restaurant sector," states François Blouin, founder and CEO of Food Service Vision, in B.R.A. Tendances Restauration 's report on the Top 220 ranking.

The institute justifies its findings with two factors: on the one hand with the typical offer category for the companies, on the other hand with the ability for further development.

Thus, on the one hand, there is a "segment/offer mix effect" that is favorable to chain stores, it said. "The snack product type, which is overrepresented among foodservice chains, was more resilient than the sit-down restaurant offering in the face of the 2020 health and economic crisis," Blouin explains. As a result, he says, quick-service restaurants have been better able to maintain their sales levels.

In addition, the former have longer experience with out-of-home sales and delivery services compared to traditional restaurants - the very types of consumption that have gone through the roof in 2020. And, of course, they traditionally offer the types of products that are better suited to these forms of sales.

The second reason for the difference in crisis resilience, according to B.R.A. Tendances Restauration, is the opportunities seized for further development. For example, system restaurateurs have worked to expand their network even during the pandemic compared to stand-alone restaurants - especially from the quick service segment, which accounts for 92 percent of new openings.

Looking at the ranking of the largest foodservice companies in France, as in other countries, there is a lone leader: McDonald's. With sales of €4.2bn, the burger giant alone accounts for a good 30 per cent of the total sales of the top 220 in 2020 (€13.738bn) as calculated by B.R.A. Tendances Restauration. That's four times as much revenue as Burger King/Quick in second place with €1.050bn. In France, Burger King is part of Groupe Bertrand, which has total sales of €1.4bn.

Marie Blachère moved up from 7th to 3rd place in the 2020 ranking with sales of €477m. Yum! climbed 2 places with Kentucky Fried Chicken, which just missed out on the podium with sales of €473m.

Areas France, the traffic catering specialist, lost 41.4 percent in sales in 2020 and now ranks 5th instead of 4th with sales of 362.5 million euros. The drop in sales of Agapes was even more severe with minus 52.4 percent to 348 million euros: Instead of 3rd place, only 6th place remains, just ahead of Le Duff in 7th place (€341.6m, minus 40.5%). The pizza chain Domino's has moved up three places and into the top 10 with sales of €267.4m.