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UK Ethnic Restaurants and Takeaways market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Ethnic Restaurants and Takeaways market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report examines the UK ethnic restaurant market, including restaurants and takeaways specialising in any cuisines outside Continental Europe, Russia, Australasia and North America. The market size comprises sales turnover of dine-in and takeaways from ethnic restaurant chains as well as independents.

The following definitions apply to the various cuisines referred to in this report:

  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Moroccan
  • Caribbean
  • Mexican incl. Tex-Mex
  • South American eg Peruvian, Brazilian
  • South Asian eg Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi
  • Chinese (eg Cantonese, Sichuan) and Taiwanese
  • Eastern Mediterranean eg Greek, Lebanese, Turkish
  • Southeast Asian eg Malaysian/Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Trish Caddy, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

With many consumers continuing to take a cautious attitude towards spending, it comes as little surprise that there are high expectations on ethnic venues to justify their value by offering something tangibly different, including dishes deemed too complex to make at home or ones which focus on highly skilled cooking methods. Trish Caddy
Senior Foodservice Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Total market to reach £17 billion by 2023
              • Figure 1: UK ethnic restaurants and takeaways market, value sales, 2013-23
            • Dine-in segment worth £5.7 billion in 2018
              • Figure 2: UK ethnic eat-in restaurants market, value sales, 2013-23
            • Takeaway segment worth £6.7 billion in 2018
              • Figure 3: UK ethnic takeaway/home delivery market, value sales, 2013-23
            • Companies and brands
              • Fast food chains look set to ramp up new store openings in 2019
                • Local takeaways face pressure as branded chains expand into delivery
                  • The Restaurant Group buys Wagamama
                    • Orderswift enables restaurants to launch in-house delivery
                      • Mobile order-ahead
                        • Ethnic restaurant retail ranges rival grocery brands
                          • The consumer
                            • Three in four Brits eat ethnic cuisines out of home
                              • Figure 4: Overall usage of ethnic eateries, November 2018
                            • Chinese dominates the ethnic takeaway segment but loses out in the eat-in segment
                              • Figure 5: Venues visited/ordered from, November 2018
                            • Friday takeaways cannibalise dine-in sales
                              • Figure 6: Days of the week usage for ethnic restaurants/takeaways out-of-home occasions, November 2018
                            • Millennials will consider ethnic meals at all dayparts
                              • Figure 7: Ethnic restaurants/takeaways out-of-home meal occasions, November 2018
                            • Ethnic food fails to grip older diners
                              • Figure 8: Reasons for not having visited an ethnic restaurant or takeaway to eat in or order takeaway, November 2018
                            • Emerging ethnic foods have high appeal
                              • Figure 9: Interest in ethnic foods, November 2018
                            • Diners feel the pinch when eating out
                              • Figure 10: Eating out behaviours, November 2018
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • Celebrate trying something new
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Are ethnic restaurants losing out to people cooking at home?
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Do consumers seek out restaurants that specialise in complex dishes?
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Total market to reach £17 billion by 2023
                                                  • Dine-in segment worth £5.7 billion in 2018
                                                    • Takeaway segment worth £6.7 billion in 2018
                                                      • Ethnic restaurant recruitment getting increasingly difficult
                                                      • Market Size, Segmentation and Forecast

                                                        • Total market is worth £12 billion in 2018
                                                          • Figure 11: UK ethnic restaurants and takeaways market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                          • Figure 12: UK ethnic restaurants and takeaways market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                        • Dine-in expected to bounce back
                                                          • Figure 13: UK ethnic eat-in restaurants market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                          • Figure 14: UK ethnic eat-in restaurants market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                        • Casual dining chains will boost takeaway sales
                                                          • Figure 15: UK ethnic takeaway/home delivery market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                          • Figure 16: UK ethnic takeaway/home delivery market, value sales, 2013-23
                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Hospitality recruitment getting increasingly difficult
                                                            • Figure 17: Occupation, by employment status, October 2015-September 2018
                                                          • Delivery workers’ rights
                                                            • £30,000 salary cap on foreign workers
                                                              • One in 10 Brits look for new flavours all of the time
                                                                • Figure 18: Trends in food behaviours which consumers do all of the time, April 2016-November 2018
                                                              • 'Foodie-ism' fuels demand for new flavours found in ethnic cuisines
                                                                • Home cooking should be good news for ethnic restaurants/takeaways
                                                                    • Figure 19: Trends in selected food attitudes, April 2016-November 2018
                                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Fast food chains look set to ramp up new store openings in 2019
                                                                    • Local takeaways face pressure as branded chains expand into delivery
                                                                      • The Restaurant Group buys Wagamama
                                                                        • Orderswift enables restaurants to launch in-house delivery
                                                                          • Mobile order-ahead
                                                                            • Ethnic restaurant retail ranges rival grocery brands
                                                                            • Market Share

                                                                              • Wagamama leads the casual dining sector
                                                                                • Fast food chains look set to ramp up new store openings in 2019
                                                                                  • Figure 20: Selected UK ethnic restaurants, market share, by outlet numbers, 2011-18
                                                                                • Local takeaways face pressure as branded chains expand into delivery
                                                                                  • Figure 21: Selected ethnic restaurants, market share, by revenue, 2014-17
                                                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                                                • Consolidation
                                                                                  • The Restaurant Group buys Wagamama
                                                                                    • Royal China consolidates estate
                                                                                      • Distribution
                                                                                        • M&S adjusts Wasabi tie-up
                                                                                          • New entries
                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                            • Notable takeaway and delivery concepts
                                                                                              • New delivery API enables restaurants to launch in-house delivery
                                                                                                • Food market delivery
                                                                                                  • Kiosks
                                                                                                    • Grab-and-go
                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Example of ethnic grab-and-go by Kym’s Restaurant, 2019
                                                                                                    • Delivery-only
                                                                                                      • Spin-off brands
                                                                                                        • Notable dine-in experiences
                                                                                                          • Cashless operations
                                                                                                            • Mobile order-ahead
                                                                                                              • Test kitchens
                                                                                                                • Retail ranges to rival grocery brands
                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Examples of restaurant-branded frozen ready meals, January 2019
                                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                • Three in four Brits eat ethnic cuisines out of home
                                                                                                                  • Chinese leads the takeaway segment but loses out in the eat-in segment
                                                                                                                    • Friday takeaways cannibalise dine-in sales
                                                                                                                      • Over-45s more likely to only eat ethnic meals in the evenings
                                                                                                                        • Ethnic food fails to grip older diners
                                                                                                                          • Emerging ethnic foods have high appeal
                                                                                                                            • Diners feel the pinch when eating out
                                                                                                                            • Overall Usage

                                                                                                                              • Three in four Brits eat ethnic cuisines out of home
                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Overall usage of ethnic eateries, November 2018
                                                                                                                              • More Brits order takeaways than eat in at ethnic restaurants
                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Overall usage of ethnic eateries, November 2018
                                                                                                                            • Popularity of Cuisine Types

                                                                                                                              • Three in five have bought from Chinese restaurants
                                                                                                                                • Chinese dominates the ethnic takeaway segment…
                                                                                                                                  • …but loses out in the eat-in segment
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Venues visited/ordered from, November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Three in seven bought from South Asian restaurants
                                                                                                                                    • South Asian leads the eat-in segment…
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Examples of Bangladeshi dishes by Dina Begum, 2019
                                                                                                                                    • …but lags behind in takeaway usage
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Venues visited/ordered from, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Southeast Asian and Mexican on a par as third most popular cuisines
                                                                                                                                      • Southeast Asian thrives in takeaways…
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Southeast Asian venues visited, by any ethnic venues visited, November 2018
                                                                                                                                      • …Mexican to improve eat-in experiences
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Mexican (incl. Tex-Mex) venues visited, by any ethnic venues visited, November 2018
                                                                                                                                      • Londoners fuel demand for lesser-known ethnic cuisines
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Any eaten in or ordered takeaway, by those living in Inner and Greater London, November 2018
                                                                                                                                      • Middle Eastern
                                                                                                                                        • Caribbean
                                                                                                                                          • Japanese
                                                                                                                                            • South American
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Examples of South American street food, 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Under-45s eat in at two or more ethnic venues
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Repertoire of types of ethnic venues visited to eat in, November 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Most people order takeaway from one or two types of ethnic eatery
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Repertoire of types of ethnic venues visited to order takeaway, November 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Days of the Week Usage

                                                                                                                                            • Saturdays attract highest participation
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Days of the week usage for ethnic restaurants/takeaways out-of-home occasions, November 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Friday takeaways cannibalise dine-in sales
                                                                                                                                              • Potential for Korean dishes to become weekday staple
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Days of the week usage for eating in, by any cuisine types, November 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Mexican venues should focus on Saturday takeaway trade
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Days of the week usage for ordering takeaway, by any cuisine types, November 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Meal Occasions

                                                                                                                                              • Millennials are more likely to consider ethnic meals at all dayparts
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Ethnic restaurants/takeaways out-of-home meal occasions, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                • One in four eat in at ethnic venues for lunch
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Any meal occasions for eating in, by any cuisine type, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Room for ethnic breakfast to grow
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Example of ethnic breakfast, 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Lunch takeaways led by Londoners
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Click-and-collect/takeout at Wagamama, 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Push lesser-known cuisines into delivery
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Meal occasions for ordering takeaway, by cuisine type, November 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Barriers to Usage

                                                                                                                                                • Price of food main barrier to usage
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Reasons for not having visited an ethnic restaurant or takeaway to eat in or order takeaway, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Preference to cook at home bodes well for supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Amoy Peanut Satay Stir-Fry Kit by Ajinomoto, Japan, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Ethnic food fails to grip older diners
                                                                                                                                                    • No time to dine in
                                                                                                                                                    • Interest in Ethnic Foods

                                                                                                                                                      • Most turn to familiar dishes to try new flavours
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Interest in ethnic foods, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • More can be done to normalise eating raw fish
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Interest in ethnic foods, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • Men under 35 are more experimental with new ethnic foods
                                                                                                                                                        • Foodie-ism drives interest in new flavours
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Interest in ethnic food trends, by ethnic venues visited, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • Eating Out Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                          • Target birthdays and special occasions
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Eating out behaviours, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • Diners feel the pinch when eating out
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Eating out behaviours, by eating out behaviours, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Home cooking should be good news for ethnic restaurants/takeaways
                                                                                                                                                                • Heating up ready meals
                                                                                                                                                                  • Learning to scratch cook
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Ready, Set... Cook! Beef Chow Mein Stir Fry Meal Kit by Aldi (private label), UK, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Eating out behaviours, by eating out behaviours, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Dads are the most confident cooks – CHAID Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Ethnic restaurants and takeaways – CHAID – Tree output, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                        • CHAID methodology
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Ethnic restaurants and takeaways – CHAID – Table output, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                          • Best- and worst-case forecast
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Best- and worst-case forecasts for UK ethnic restaurants and takeaways market, 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Best- and worst-case forecasts for ethnic eat-in market, 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Best- and worst-case forecasts for ethnic takeaway/home delivery market, 2018-23