Eight stats on the casual dining sector as group restaurants buck wider trends

The latest Market Growth Monitor Report from CGA and AlixPartners reveals growth is being powered by Britain’s big regional cities

12 March 2020
Casual pub food
image credit: Stephen Carter/Getty Images

  • The total number of UK restaurants continues to decline, falling slightly year-on-year to 26,317 in the year to December 2019.
  • However, group restaurants (managed sites of operators with more than one location) were back in growth (up 1.8%) during the same period.
  • The growth was predominantly powered by Britain’s big regional cities, with the number of licensed premises in Manchester and Liverpool, for example, both increasing approximately 20% compared to five years ago due to an influx of more multi-site operators.
  • In comparison, the UK independent restaurant sector reported a drop of 2.4%.
  • Food-led pubs and bars also fell slightly, down 0.6% to 17,699 compared to a 2.8% rise with drink-led pubs and bars.
  • The total number of food-level venues in the UK fell 1.2% to 44,016 last year.
  • There have been contrasting fortunes for Britain’s seaside towns which have seen food-led sites fall 2.5% year-on-year in 2019 and 4.5% in the last five years.
  • Group restaurants, on the other hand, continue to buck the trend with 27% growth in the number of sites in seaside towns in the last five years.

“Last year was not easy for some big restaurant brands, but smaller and medium-sized brands are bringing new concepts to the market and successfully scaling up,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA. “All our research shows that consumers are still eager to go out to eat and drink, and they’ve never had it better for choice.”

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