Independent operators have borne the brunt of the closures with group-owned restaurants proving more resilient despite some major brand failures.
The quarterly survey of the country’s licensed premises reports a 3.4% drop in restaurant numbers in the 12 months to June 2019—an average of around 18 net closures a week.
For group-owned restaurants, defined as businesses with more than one site, the reduction in numbers was smaller at 1.2%—reflecting the fact that some groups, especially small to medium-sized operations, continue to open new sites.
In an exclusive new review of cuisine types, the Market Growth Monitor shows that the Italian, Indian and Chinese sectors have recorded the most net closures in the last 12 months. The number of group-owned restaurants specialising in Italian food fell by 3.2% after site closures and some high-profile business restructuring—with the collapse of Jamie’s Italian the most prominent casualty.
“The trend suggests that more market contraction could follow,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA.
But many other cuisine types have been in strong growth. CGA research reveals that Middle Eastern, Turkish and Caribbean sectors all have at least 60% more restaurants than they did five years ago—and the number of vegetarian restaurants has increased by more than a third in just 12 months.
AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “The rapid growth of restaurants focused on certain cuisine types highlights how they can quickly find favour in response to the fast-changing tastes of British diners.”