Restaurants open in Brazil are half of what was believed

Brazil has exact 736,000 bars and restaurants actually open and operating, contrary to the estimate of around 1.5 million indicated by class entities and public bodies. This is what an unprecedented study made by the Instituto Foodservice Brasil (IFB) points out and that the Good Gourmet and the People’s Gazette had access.

The survey makes a kind of x-ray on spreadsheets and data from different public agencies, private entities and the presence of establishments on the internet, crossing information and separating those who actually operate businesses in the sector from others registered with wrong licenses – the CNAEs, the National Classification of Economic Activities.

This study began to be planned in mid-August last year after the entrepreneurs and class entities themselves began to question the difficulty of having more complete information from the Federal Revenue Service. This is because the agency only registers permits relating to commercial activities, but without specifying the typology of each of them.

This ends up making it difficult to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the market to understand the real impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, the correct mapping, understanding and development of the sector in the present and in the future.

Eduardo Yamashita, coordinator of the IFB intelligence committee and COO of Gouvêa Ecosystem, who participates in the entity, explains that there has always been great difficulty in understanding the real size of the food market outside the home in Brazil, since there is no “conversation ” between the different databases of the responsible public bodies.

“The official sources that we have are important, mainly the Federal Revenue, but there are relevant ‘gaps’ (gaps). If you do a Google query about the number of restaurants, something like ‘more than a million’ will always appear, but no one knows exactly where that came from and its evolution”, he says.

The actual analysis of the data began in December last year with the survey of public records with the Federal Revenue Service, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the Ministry of Labor and the digital activity of businesses, such as presence in social networks, own websites and registrations in delivery applications. The information was then crossed by an artificial intelligence that managed to give a first overview of the real size of the food market outside the home in our country.

half of what was believed

The study pointed out that 56% of the 736 thousand establishments opened their doors in the last three years.| André Coelho/EFE

This is what was found out of the total of 1.459 million permits registered with the Revenue. The remainder is from businesses that ceased to operate and did not register with the CNPJ after the closure of activities or were erroneously registered with some CNAE in the sector.

This glaring difference in the data happens, according to Yamashita, for some factors that, not infrequently, are linked to the difficulties of management and planning. Starting with the closing rate of Brazilian bars and restaurants, which is higher than the market average.

“As this segment has a very low entry barrier, many start to undertake out of necessity, when they don’t have another occupation. So, when they get that job they are looking for first, they put food aside,” he explains.

This entrepreneurship out of necessity is reflected in the numbers calculated by the IFB. Of the 736 thousand active and operating out-of-home food establishments, 56% have been opened in the last three yearsespecially since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a general scope that is also pointed out as a reflection of the arrival of the coronavirus in Brazil, 64% of out-of-home food operations are from Individual Microentrepreneurs (MEI) – or 473 thousand businesses – that do not officially have any registered employees and earn up to R$ 81 thousand per year.

“The study confirms a perception we already had, that the Brazilian market is one of the most informal and decentralized in the world. The gastronomy here is like an escape valve by necessity, without much planning”, analyzes Eduardo Yamashita.

The coordinator of the IFB’s intelligence committee also recalls that this large number of individual entrepreneurs may be even greater, since there are many who are not formalized with public bodies.

professional market

open restaurants Brazil
In comparison with the North American and European markets, Brazil still has a lot to grow according to the IFB.| Daniel Castellano/archive / Gazeta do Povo

On the other hand, the IFB study pointed out that only 9% of Brazilian out-of-home food businesses have a more robust turnover, of more than R$ 4.8 million per year. There are about 70 thousand operations with a more professional management.

This demonstrates the great growth potential of the Brazilian market in comparison with other more mature markets in the world, such as the North American and European markets. In the countries of these continents, explains Yamashita, the establishments are larger and employ more people, with more planning and investment.

“We hope that this will also happen in Brazil over time, with a professionalization of our market, with the expansion of networks and franchise systems”, he says.

A reflection of this is the number of people employed in the operations. While North American restaurants employ around 15 million people in 1 million establishments, the sector in Brazil has 1.5 million workers in 736 thousand businesses.

What else is there in Brazil?

Finally, the unprecedented study by the IFB points out that the restaurants with the greatest presence in delivery are also the ones that opened the most in the last three years in Brazil: snacks and hamburgers (24%), bars (13%), candy stores (5%), açaí (5%) and pizza (4%).

The delivery modality has taken a leap since the beginning of the pandemic, also confirming a market perception. According to the IFB, delivery corresponds to 15% of all orders placed in restaurants in Brazil today, against 5% in 2019.

“This shows a change in the consumption profile of Brazilians, with a greater growth in these delivery businesses than in the full service ones themselves. Not that the traditional restaurant with table and waiter will cease to exist, but there is a change in consumption occasions”, completes Eduardo Yamashita.

After this first phase of the study, which will continue to be carried out monthly, the IFB begins to advance in the analysis of the data to establish lines of what may come ahead in the Brazilian market.