Poles prefer traditional Polish cuisine but McDonald’s, Da Grasso and KFC are the biggest chain restaurants


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Spending time away from home in the workplace or at school is the most common occasion for eating out for Poles, according to a new survey carried out for the report “HoReCa market in Poland 2012. Analysis of the market and development forecasts for 2012-2014”. Respondents selected Polish cuisine as the favourite one. Yet, the most expanding chains are fast food bars and pizza restaurants which influence consumer habits.

One of the questions asked in a survey carried out by PMR Research concerned the occasions on which Polish consumers decide to eat out. In order not to suggest any answers, our interviewers allowed the respondents to spontaneously name occasions, which were then categorised. In most cases, eating meals and snacks away from home is prompted by daily life, i.e. work and study. Spending time in the workplace, at school or at university was the occasion for eating out for 32% of respondents. Many of them (23%) declared that it was more necessity than a special occasion, and that they ate out due to lack of time. It seems that this may be dictated by a work or study schedule.

A relatively large share of answers indicated special occasions. As many as 34% respondents eat out for social reasons – 22% when meeting friends for a meal, and 12% for special occasions (birthdays, name-days and anniversaries). Respondents who only choose catering services at these occasions instead of cooking at home eat out less often than those who eat meals at work or at home every day. Similarly, 10% declared that they ate out not on special occasions, but just for a change from meals at home. They tend to visit restaurants or bars in order to try something new. Other answers indicated practical reasons for eating out – 8% eat meals when travelling, and 7% named shopping as an occasion for having a meal in a bar or restaurant.
According to the survey, respondents indicate Polish, regional dishes as their favourites – 27% of our respondents order such dishes very often, 24% often, and only 8% do not eat them at all. However, there is another, growing group of consumers, who like to try other national cuisines, including some more exotic ones. Two factors have increased consumer awareness in this area and changed their preferences – more foreign trips and improving financial circumstances. It is worth noting that apart from traditional dishes, Poles have chosen pizza as the second most often selected dish, ordered often or very often by 47% of Poles. Pizza was isolated from Italian cuisine as a separate category in our survey.
The next popular category is fast food (both Eastern, e.g. kebabs, and traditional, like hamburgers), as well as Chinese and Italian cooking. Although only 5-6% of respondents in each category order them very often, 15-25% choose such food relatively often. On the other hand, the largest percentage of people who never eat dishes of this type was observed for Chinese cuisine – 45%.
Nowadays, many consumers from time to time try other dishes as well. However, all the other cuisines attract much less attention, and in each case the biggest percentage of respondents declares they do not eat such dishes.
When analysing the findings, we should remember that the frequency of ordering meals from different cuisines also depends on how many catering establishments represent a given cuisine. Places (especially those offering lower prices, like bars or cafeterias) serving Polish dishes are the most widespread yet most of them are independent.
On the other hand, the leader of the Polish restaurant market is the McDonald’s chain in terms of both sales value and the number of units. At the end of 2011, it had 279 restaurants, including 143 franchises. The second largest chain in number terms, Da Grasso, also owes its high position to expansion through franchise. In third place there was the very fast-growing KFC chain, with 150 restaurants.
The fast growing number of chain fast food bars (first and third place in top five) and pizza restaurants (second and forth in top five) shows a decisive shift in consumer habits which is also visible in the survey results, as pizza is the second chosen type of cuisine. Although traditional fast food was selected as the sixth type of cuisine in the survey, it may be selected more often in the future as both McDonald’s and AmRest, the owner of KFC and Burger King brands, change their offer in order to attract more customers. A menu comprising only hamburgers and chips is now a thing of the past. In order to break with the negative stereotype of unhealthy food that they are associated with, customers are attracted more often by breakfasts, salads, vegetables and dairy products.

This press release is based on information contained in the latest PMR report entitled HoReCa market in Poland 2012. Analysis of the market and development forecasts for 2012-2014.

For more information on the report please contact:
Marketing Department:
tel. /48/ 12 618 90 00
e-mail: marketing@pmrcorporate.com

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