As states across the country begin to loosen their restrictions on dine-in business, signs of recovery in the foodservice industry are starting to emerge. However, a clearer picture of the toll COVID-19 has taken in the last few months is also coming to the fore. Read on for a selection of statistics that reflect what’s been taking place in the industry amid the spread of the coronavirus.
Fall enrollment at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., is down about 30%, Nancy Keller, the university’s director of culinary services, said on a webinar hosted by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. Colleges across the country are just beginning to confirm their plans for the fall semester, with the California State University system, of which Sonoma State is a part, last week announcing that its fall classes would be held almost entirely virtually.
Forty percent of consumers say they would be willing to wear a mask in order to dine in at foodservice spot, a rate that is higher among 35- to 44-year-olds, half of whom say they’d be willing to do the same, according to foodservice researcher and FSD sister company Technomic. A higher amount of consumers, 60%, say they’d be up for following measures to stay 6 feet apart from others.
The median estimated loss of school districts with more than 25,000 students whose foodservice directors said in a recent School Nutrition Association (SNA) survey that they expected a financial loss this school year. “School meal programs nationwide are experiencing crippling financial losses that could impede efforts to serve students next year,” SNA President Gay Anderson said in a statement.
The amount that a new micromarket at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., is charging hospital staff for to-go meals for two. Ten different meals are offered weekly, and they’ve been well received, said Wendy Mejia, GM for Sodexo. Hospitals across the country have turned to providing heat-and-eat and family meals to help frontline staff and recoup some of their sales lost as a result of restrictions on visitors and certain procedures. “Our hospital cafe was really hard hit [financially] from COVID-19, so the micromarket is helping us retain employees,” Meija said.
More than 30% of foodservice operators are now promoting menu healthy items, up from 21% at the start of April. Though many consumers sought comfort foods such as mac and cheese at the start of the pandemic, they appear to now be seeking better-for-you options that boost wellness.
The American foodservice industry lost 5.5 million jobs in April alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. unemployment rate also jumped to 14.7%, a leap of more than 10 percentage points from March. This was the largest month-to-month increase ever noted in the available data, which goes back to 1948.
The amount of returning college students who would avoid on-campus eateries that did not offer contactless ordering and payment, according to a recent survey by software provider Nutrislice. When asked what they’d be willing to sacrifice for safer ordering and payment options, students indicated that, out of four attributes, menu variety is what they would be most apt to part with, while speed of service is what they’d like to see affected least.
Revenue at Sysco fell just under 7% year over year during the last quarter, while the major distributor’s EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, decreased by 30%. “Generally speaking, every major distributor earns more margins and profit dollars from” local restaurants, said David Henkes, senior principal with Technomic. “That customer base has been the most devastated. They’ve had the most closures and the most loss of revenue.”