The performance of branded chains is significantly outperforming the wider retail and hospitality markets, according to Allegra's Project Restaurant 2012 report.
The full report, initial details of which were first reported on BigHospitality in April, suggests restaurant brands now represent more than a fifth of the total eating out market value.
Altogether sales in the branded restaurant market are expected to reach £11.6bn by the end of the year - a figure that may continue to grow as the report says 70 per cent of consumers are expected to continue to eat out with the same frequency over the next twelve months.
18,000 diners were surveyed and Anya Marco, director of insight at Allegra Strategies, said the responses and figures from the sector appeared to indicate branded restaurants were displaying signs of being recession proof.
"It is clear that UK consumers are refusing to give up on affordable eating out. The report shows that visit frequency is expected to remain stable and people are determined to continue to enjoy themselves when they can. By focusing on innovative ways to deliver added value for money, branded restaurants can benefit from a greater share of consumer spend on experiences that cannot be easily replicated at home."
Brands such as Prezzo and JD Wetherspoon are leading growth in the casual dining and branded pub restaurant sectors. The Italian casual dining chain opened 45 new stores in the period and reported growth of 31 per cent closely followed by Pizza Express and Carluccio's.
Expansion is a key feature of the growth in branded casual dining with the report showing more than 160 new outlets have opened already this year.
"With established marketing prowess, delivery of consistency and familiarity, and the ability to capitalise on new outlet expansion opportunities, branded chains will continue to drive growth in the market," Marco added.
Some of the key findings of Allegra's Project Restaurant 2012 report, published in association with Barclays:
- 70 per cent of the top 50 branded restaurant chains have used discounting.
- Over half of consumers regularly use discount vouchers when eating out.
- 1 in 6 diners would no longer visit an outlet if discounting stopped.
- 28 per cent of consumers have more regularly visited cheaper restaurants recently.
- 60 per cent of diners are spending cautiously when eating out.
- Branded restaurant turnover is estimated to grow by 7.8 per cent in 2013 to £12.5bn.
- Allegra Strategies predicts the branded restaurant market will operate more than 13,800 sites and reach turnover of £14.5bn by 2015.