The latest analysis from Allegra Foodservice revealed that annual growth from operators on the Restaurant Brand Portal is set to accelerate to 5.5 per cent in 2014, up from 4.5 per cent last year.
The report said this growth would be fuelled by new investment in established brands and rapid expansion from brands that are new to the UK market.
Looking at the top movers and shakers, the report revealed that burger chains Fast Guys and Leon are now ranked in the Restaurant Brand Portal’s top fifteen.
Leon, the more established of the two, is opening new outlets on the back of new investment and a partnership with Autogrill which is taking it into transport hubs.
Five Guys, which only entered the UK in July 2013, has benefitted from plans to open 20 to 30 new outlets this year.
“These are examples of the ‘new fast food’ segment, with the healthy fast food chain also securing a new £2 million investment from Barclay’s in October 2013 to help fund expansion,” said Allegra.
Looking at growth by cuisine type, British is set to be the winner with 117 planned outlets.
“This is fuelled by the expansion of well-performing pub chains, including Wetherspoon and Hungry Horse, and also informal all-day concepts Bill’s and Loungers,” said the report.
Wetherspoon is set to open more stores than any other brand this year, with 40 in the pipeline, while Hungry Horse will open 25.
Italian will be the next biggest driver of new outlets, with ‘well-established chains’ such as Prezzo, PizzaExpress and Carluccio’s planning new outlets.
Asian and Mexican cuisines will grow by 20 per cent, fuelled by expansion from Asian operators including Red Hot World Buffet, Pho and Ping Pong, and Mexican operators such as Tortilla, Barburrito and Chimichanga.
The report pointed out that while many of these operators have small estates, so 20 per cent growth would not translate to lots of new openings, some larger operators such as Wagamama and Las Iguanas are also set to grow by around 20 per cent.
Allegra’s Restaurant Brand Portal analyst, Peter Linden, said: “There are clear signs that British consumers are embracing more adventurous flavours and cuisines within their restaurant repertoires.
“There is no doubt that ‘new fast food’ will be a key growth area, but with expansion across the marketplace, 2014 has genuine potential to be a landmark year.”