London’s lunch retailers are suffering, but are not forgotten

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
July 30, 2020, 2:38 PM UTC

Food retailers in the capital have seen income tumble as city workers stay home

Despite Boris Johnson telling companies to get workers back in offices by August, London remains far quieter than usual as major firms keep employees working from home.

One side effect of the great migration to the home office, is that food retailers that once did a booming lunch time trade have suffered immensely. YouGov Profiles data shows that London workers are less likely than those elsewhere to bring lunch from home – and our BrandIndex tracking metrics show that the major brands have suffered with the capital’s workforce at home.

Looking at the popular chains such as EAT, Itsu, Wasabi, Leon and Pret A Manager, we can see that Current Customer scores for these brands dropped drastically following the introduction of lockdown measures on March the 23rd.

For some of the brands we looked at, such as Wasabi and Eat, their Current Customer scores dropped to zero during the height of lockdown between May and June. Other brands such as Pret A Manager didn’t see scores as low as zero, but saw their score drop 19.7 points from 22.4 on March the 22nd to 2.7 in late May.

However, Londoners haven’t simply forgotten their favourite lunch brands, and all of the chains we looked at have seen upticks in their Current Customer score as non-essential businesses have begun to reopen. 

This trend of customers returning could be set to continue as lockdown continues to ease, as if we examine the Consideration scores (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future) for the brands, we can see what while there was a drop following late March – scores remain up.

Pret A Manager, for example, has a current Consideration score among Londoners of 24.2 compared to a score of 31.7 on March 23. Leon, another popular take out restaurant for those working the capital, has seen its Consideration score drop by only 4.6 points since March, currently standing at 15.1.

On the other hand Wasabi, a popular Bento and Sushi retailer, has seen its Consideration score remain fairly constant through the lockdown, with its current score of 11.0 only 0.4 points less than on March 23rd.

Learn more about YouGov BrandIndex here