Blog: Dean BestFast food grabs a bigger slice of the action

Dean Best | 17 February 2009

Food manufacturers and retailers, under the cosh as the recession bites, have sought cover behind the mantra that, as consumers eat out less in a downturn, they will look to “treat” themselves by spending more in the retail channel.

If only things were that simple. Two pieces of news from the UK today (17 February) suggest that, while consumers may be turning their backs on expensive restaurants, they still want to treat themselves – but at the expense of heading to their local supermarkets and cooking at home.

First, fast food chain KFC is looking to open 300 new outlets in the UK over the next three to five years. The move will create around 9,000 new jobs and suggests KFC is benefiting from a desire among UK consumers to eat out.

And, in a further blow to retailers (and, some would say, the nation's health) Domino's today reported a 25% jump in pre-tax profits for 2008.

The pizza delivery business reeled off a set of impressive statistics, notably that a third of the company's 2.7m customers were new to the business.

CEO Chris Moore predicted another year of “strong growth” at Domino's. “Our store opening programme continues apace and plans for another 50 new store openings this year are well underway with numerous sites in the pipeline,” Moore said.

That said, while the recession looks to be good news for the fast food giants, there will be concern among the UK's policy-makers that their recent moves to promote a healthier diet – think Change4Life and the sat fat campaign – will be undone by a growing love for a Bargain Bucket or some Pepperoni Passion.


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