RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Growth in Britain's eating out establishments reaches 5-year peak

The average annual growth rate of F&B outlets doubled this year.

A new report by The Local Data Company reveals that the number of new food and beverage outlets opening across Great Britain reached a new peak in the last 12 months.

In the last 5 years the average annual growth rate of F&B outlets was +743 new units per year (net), but in the last 12 months the number of new units nearly doubled this number to 1,333, up by 44%.

The level of openings and closures has risen from 20,494 in 2012-13 to 20,981 in 2016-17 (+2.3%). During the five year period from June 2012 to June 2017, 104,746 outlets opened or closed across UK.

The West Midlands with a 1.9% increase, Wales with 1.8%, and East of England with 1.8% saw the largest increase in new F&B outlets. Greater London with 0.9%, and Yorkshire & The Humber with 0.9% saw the lowest growth rates.

Independent Cafes & Tearooms (+409 units), Coffee Shops (+225), Takeaway Food Shops (+215) and Restaurants & Bars (+210) saw the biggest increase in the last 12 months. Meanwhile Pubs (-254), Indian Restaurants (-79), Night Clubs (-74) and Chinese Restaurants (-62) all declined.

Independent Vegan restaurants have experienced significant growth and have more than doubled in number from 8 to 17 in the past 12 months. Other cuisines to enjoy a boost are Jamaican (+11), Middle Eastern (+29), Carribean (+35), Turkish (+59) and American (+73).

Matthew Hopkinson of LDC noted, “The growth of food and beverage outlets across Great Britain has been consistent and strong. For many high streets, shopping centres and retail parks it is now an essential part of their offer, where previously one in ten units would have been typical to see, now one in four or even three is the norm across all locations.”

“The big question is can this expansion continue? I would say NO and I believe that we will see a slowdown in 2017 in the expansion of outlets. 2016 and the last 12 months have also seen a number of distressed operators as a result of fierce competition, significant increases in costs and new market forces such as food delivery where the whole business model in some cases is being seriously challenged.”

“The current uncertainty across the country around inflation, interest rates and Brexit means that many more operators’ margins will be squeezed so hard that they will have to close. This will be very location specific, as the report data illustrates the significant variances that exist up and down the country in terms of economic consumer health and density of F&B outlets,” he concluded.

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