Standalone restaurants in the UAE saw a remarkable growth in online sales last year, as more customers opted for food deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Network International.

The UAE’s digital payment giant said e-commerce transactions rose by more than 15 percent in May over reported volumes in March and “grew further by more than 30 percent in October.”

“Delivery became a popular and preferred choice following lockdown restrictions,” Network International said on Sunday.

“Internet-based food ordering also rose as more outlets signed up to list their menus on multiple platforms to cater to growing market demand.”

The online food delivery segment has been among the beneficiaries of the rise in digital spending. Global revenue in the market is forecast to reach $151.5 billion in 2021, according to Statistica.

In-store sales

While online sales surged, spending at the restaurants’ physical outlets declined by as much as 70 percent during the second quarter of 2020 when compared with the previous quarter.

Spending started to rebound to the “single and low-double digits” by the final quarter of 2020, as the COVID-19 restrictions started to ease.

The outbreak wreaked havoc on the food and beverage industry last year, especially since restaurants were forced to close their physical outlets during the global lockdown.

In-store sales of restaurants in the Middle East were estimated to have fallen by 77 percent in April last year as a result of the disruptions caused by the restrictions, according to a report by JLL.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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