In a year of uncertainty, Kiwis found comfort in takeaways with a record surge in orders helping support the local hospitality industry hit hard by Covid-19.
Establishments in tourist hotspots as well as the Auckland CBD are still down on
last year with the trend of city centre workers staying home and the loss of tourist dollars continuing to cause significant reductions in trade.
The industry was overall still in decline in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. However, takeaways recorded a positive 8.4 per cent sales growth over this period – the only sector to record a positive change.
Restaurants around the country turned to delivery to help combat the challenging conditions with food delivery platform, Menulog, reporting a 20 per cent increase in restaurant sign ups in New Zealand this year.
The increase in restaurants offering delivery helped boost order numbers this year despite restaurants being closed for five weeks during level 4 lockdown.
The mighty Butter Chicken took out the prize for most popular dish with more than 90,000 ordered this year. Rounding out the top five dishes on Menulog were Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Korma, Hawaiian Pizza, and Pepperoni Pizza.
“It was a difficult year for the industry. We are really proud to have been able to support restaurants that have faced restrictions with more orders through collection and delivery,” says Rory Murphy, Commercial Director Menulog New Zealand and Australia.
“Pre-COVID, many restaurants relied heavily on in-store dining and orders and so faced a challenge when the country went into lockdown. It was great to see so many restaurants quickly pivot and change to ensure their business could continue to operate and continue to serve up delicious food through a very difficult time.”
Takeaway orders surged when the country moved back to level 3. As New Zealand crept back down alert levels in May and early June, Menulog had it’s top 10 busiest days of the year as people reunited with family and friends and enjoyed their favourite dishes for the first time in more than a month following level 4 lockdown.
It wasn’t just curry and pizza that was popular. Hungry Mates in the Hawkes Bay town of Wairoa served up more than 1000 signature chicken fillet burgers this year making it a true local favourite.
Sam Singh, Hungry Mates Restaurant Manager, says locals love their burgers because they’re made fresh with Hungry Mate’s secret seasoning and Sam’s Special Sauce. “Delivery and online ordering has been a key part of the business since we opened last year, helping us serve more delicious food to the people of Wairoa.”
In Wellington the Johnsonville Mall Fish Supply sold the most fish fillets on the Menulog platform in 2020. Owner Julia Zhu says their crumbed fish fillets are a crowd favourite because they have a beautiful crispy crust with the freshest fish inside.
“We always work to give our customers the best experience possible, using high quality ingredients and cater for a wide range of dietary requirements including gluten free.”