Start-up restaurant groups are being given the chance to grow their brands nationally during the recession because more established operators are not competing with them for prime sites, according to property agent Christie & Co.
During the last 18 months many leading restaurant operators have decided to halt their expansion plans to streamline their operations in a bid to make their business more efficient, enabling fledgling brands to gain market share.
“With the larger groups otherwise engaged, the door has been opened for emerging operators such as Jamie’s Italian and Cote to grow their estates and place their brands firmly in the minds of consumers, giving them a base to expand even further over the next few years,” said Simon Chaplin, head of Christie & Co’s corporate restaurant team.
“With the majority of the national operators focusing on paying down debt, raising new funds and streamlining their operations, a buying vacuum has also been left in regional markets into which established local operators have started to move. The lack of competition for high street sites is allowing for modest expansion in regional areas and in some cases nationally.”
Chaplin warned newer operators however that more established companies would no doubt return to the ‘acquisition trail in earnest’ as soon as an upturn in the economy arrives.