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One to watch: Byron named fastest-growing restaurant chain of past six months

By Luke Nicholls , 02-Mar-2012
Last updated on 06-Mar-2012 at 14:52 GMT

Rapidly-expanding gourmet burger chain Byron has been hailed as the fastest growing restaurant concept of the past six months having more than trebled its portfolio in the past three years.

According to the Ones to Watch survey conducted by foodservice concultancy Horizons, Byron - which was named Best Overall Restaurant Chain of 2011  - has expanded by 217 per cent under founder Tom Byng , growing from six outlets in 2009 to 19 in 2012. Wildwood, Ed’s Easy Diner and Busaba Eathai have also shown significant outlet growth in the UK.

“Some fixed operators, such as Byron, have launched mobile units for outdoor use at festivals and events,” said Horizons’ director of services Paul Backman. “This is something we expect to see more of as foodservice operators recognise the brand value that mobile units can bring.

“We are also seeing a degree of flexibility as operators try different routes to market. For example, some mobile operators such as Daddy Donkey and The Meat Wagon/MEATliquor have added permanent sites.”

The top 10 fastest-growing restaurant chains:

Brand

Number of outlets (2009)

Number of outlets (2012)

Three-year growth

01 - Byron

6

19

217%

02 - Wildwood

3

9

200%

03 - Ed's Easy Diner

3

8

167%

04 - Busaba Eathai

4

10

150%

04 - Cinnabon

2

5

150%

04 - Mission Burrito

2

5

150%

07 - Wok & Go

3

7

133%

08 - Handmade Burger Co

6

13

117%

09- Wasabi

11

23

109%

10 - Abokado

5

10

100%

10 - Auntie Anne's

8

16

100%

10 - Chimichanga

6

12

100%

10 - Wahaca

3

6

100%

10 - Yoomoo

5

10

100%

To qualify for inclusion of Horizon's Ones to Watch, each brand must have between five and 25 outlets and experienced growth of at least 20 per cent over the previous three years combined.

Other key trends in the restaurant industry identified by Horizons include:

  • The emergence of street food concepts such as Wahaca, Luardos, Mooli’s, NOW, Street Kitchen and Yalla Yalla
  • The growth of all-you-can-eat Brazillian churrascaria (rotisserie), with emerging brands including Bem Brazil, Cabana
  • Tea bars, demonstrated by concepts such as Boutea and Tea Monkey and Teapod
  • An increase in British-themed restaurants such as Bumpkin, Canteen and Union Jacks

Horizons' survey also revealed that supermarkets are fast-becoming must-have locations for expanding eating out brands.