Low temperatures in January 2024 played into the hands of the owners of classic restaurants, where, contrary to the prevailing trend, traffic growth was higher than in fast food establishments. If throughout Russia at the beginning of this year, restaurant attendance turned out to be higher by 9% year-on-year, then at fast food outlets - by 7%. In addition, restaurateurs note a more significant dynamics in the flow of guests outside Moscow, which has increased the interest of market participants in opening establishments in the regions.
As analysts from Check Index (a structure of the fiscal data operator OFD Platform) calculated for Kommersant, in January 2024, the number of orders in restaurants and bars throughout Russia increased by 9% year-on-year, while fast food outlets traditionally outperforming classic establishments, managed to increase the number of purchases by 7%, while cafes and canteens increased by only 6%. According to their calculations, over the year the average check in restaurants and bars increased by 10%, to 1.34 thousand rubles, in fast food establishments, cafes and canteens - by 11%, to 463 rubles. and 720 rub. respectively.
This year, the weather during the New Year holidays, which traditionally have a high impact on sales in public catering, as well as in subsequent weeks, was at times extremely frosty, and in such a situation, according to the head of Check Index Leonid Simakov, Russians preferred the warm premises of restaurants and bars instead fast food establishments, many of which are street locations.
Also, the growth in sales in the classic restaurant segment supports a high pace of business activity; business meetings are often held in such establishments, the expert adds. At the beginning of January, the increase in traffic in restaurants turned out to be significant, given that usually severe frosts, on the contrary, lead to a decrease in the flow of visitors, notes Alexander Muratov, director of development of the Yakitoria franchise network.
At the same time, in Moscow the dynamics are not so pronounced. According to Check Index calculations, in January 2024, the capital’s restaurants and bars increased the number of orders by only 2% year-on-year, fast food outlets by 5%, cafes and canteens by 4% year-on-year. More pronounced regional dynamics may be associated with the income of participants in the Russian special military operation in Ukraine and their families, who are more numerous in the regions than in the capital, says RestCon CEO Elena Perepelitsa. In addition, she adds, in the regions the incomes of those mobilized compared to representatives of other professions are more significant.
The increase in attendance in the regions is partly due to the limited possibility of foreign travel, which has become more difficult and expensive, so many in January stayed at home or went on trips around the country, says Henrik, co-owner of the Tigrus holding (Osteria Mario, Shvili and Bar BQ Cafe) Winter. The increase in the number of orders in the regions is a consequence of the tax service’s industry project “Public Catering”, the implementation of which was resumed in 2024, says Irina Blagoveshchenskaya, vice-president of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers.
The system for monitoring the completeness of revenue reflection is now actively used by the tax authority in the regions, while large cities previously felt the need for whitewashing, the expert adds. According to operational data from Rosstat, in 2023 the turnover of the catering market in the Russian Federation increased by 20% year-on-year, to 2.82 trillion rubles.
Due to the positive dynamics of catering indicators outside the capital, many restaurants intend to develop there. The founder of Rakovaya gastrobars, Evgeniy Nichipuruk, says that the chain is planning expansion beyond Moscow with the help of franchise partners. Alexander Muratov expects an increase in demand for franchise openings in large cities with high tourist traffic.
The interest of restaurateurs will grow not only in cities with a population of over a million, as was the case before, but also in cities with smaller populations, Henrik Winter is sure. He says that his holding is considering the possibility of launching establishments in Smolensk, in the resorts of the North Caucasus and in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Unirest (which manages the Rostic's and KFC brands in Russia) also considers small towns with a population of less than 100 thousand people, where the penetration of restaurants is not so high, to be promising in terms of development. The company told Kommersant that they are specially working on various restaurant formats for this purpose, which “can be organically integrated into existing landscapes and locations.”