The state of the Philippine foodservice industryProlonged lockdowns and hesitations in restaurant dining among Filipino consumers were among the significant challenges restaurants, cafes, bars, and street stalls had to face during the pandemic. Ultimately, this led to an unprecedented shutdown of several food establishments and declining on-premises sales for those that remained in business. Meanwhile, to offset losses, some full-service restaurants started offering takeaway options and devised ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat meals that their customers can enjoy in the comfort of their homes. Limited-service establishments or fast-food chains continued maximizing delivery, pick-up, and drive-thru services, which allowed them to have better sales performance than the other segments.
Cafés and bars accounted for the highest sales slump as Filipinos avoided small gatherings and meetings, in addition to the imposed liquor bans in major cities nationwide. Street stalls, which held the highest share of foodservice establishments, also suffered losses due to lower consumer spending and reduced foot traffic.
Online food delivery platforms bridging the gap between food establishments and consumersTo recover, establishments maximized using food delivery platforms Grab and Foodpanda, along with other third-party providers such as Lalamove and AngkasPH. A recent survey revealed that Filipino consumers ordered food from such platforms no less than once per week, especially since the venue capacity for dine-in services in major cities remained restricted. Consequently, the online food delivery industry in the country is expected to see continued growth in the next five years.
Apart from this, virtual restaurants or ghost kitchens also started gaining traction in the Philippines. Such a concept allows customers to place an order through an app that is directly relayed to a kitchen, minus a stand-alone restaurant, which then cooks and delivers the orders. While this remains a growing market, Filipino consumers are slowly noticing such businesses due to the quality of food offered and faster delivery time compared to other food establishments.