RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Thai, American outlets in Britain's high streets rise over the past five years

Chinese and Spanish restaurants, in contrast, appear to be on the decline.

The amount of Thai, American, Mexican and Japanese managed restaurants in Britain’s high streets have soared over the past five years, whilst Chinese and Spanish restaurants appear to be on the decline.

Latest research from CGA and AlixPartners revealed that Thai managed restaurants have more than doubled in the five years to December 2018, leaping 123% from 66 to 147 following the rise of brands such as Giggling Squid and Rosa’s and as well as smaller operators.

American-themed restaurants jumped by 73% from 535 in December 2013 to 925 in December 2018, with barbecue-style and burger concepts amongst the biggest drivers. Data also saw that the consumer focus on health-conscious foods means outlets have seen a decline of -1.4% within the last year.

Meanwhile, Mexican restaurants rose by 49% to 370 outlets, attributed to expansion of concepts such as Wahaca, Barburrito and Tortilla. The number of Japanese sites climbed nearly as fast at 44% to 305, driven by sushi chains such as YO! Sushi. The report also revealed steep rises in the number of Caribbean, Greek and Middle Eastern managed restaurants.

(Also read: YO! Sushi looks to mainstream personalised health with “DNA dining” concept)

Previous data from CGA’s BrandTrack survey of consumers, which shows how interest in Thai, Mexican and Japanese food all increased between 2017 and 2018.

In contrast, CGA’s data shows a 44% five-year drop in the number of Chinese managed restaurant numbers to just 61, and a 26% dip in those specializing in Spanish food to 64.

CGA’s business unit director for food and retail Karl Chessell said: “This is an example of the fast-changing tastes of British diners.

“As consumers broaden their horizons with travel they are discovering many new cuisines and are bringing their appetite for fresh flavours back home. This trend is particularly obvious in the Asian sector, where food knowledge has gone way beyond Chinese,” CGA’s business unit director for food and retail Karl Chessell said. “The healthy aspects of these foods may well be another factor in their popularity.”

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