The Future Shock study found that the number of food-led outlets in the UK grew 13.5 per cent to 45,160 from September 2011- 2016.
In contrast, drink-led venues saw a sharp decline, with the volume of sites falling 12.4 per cent to 66,038 in the past five years.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of consumers surveyed said they eat out weekly, while just over a third (36 per cent) drink out every week.
CGA Peach business unit director Jamie Campbell said that any growth in 2016 had been ‘hard won’ in a difficult market.
‘New wave’ expansion
However, he added that there were still ‘plenty of growth opportunities’ for leading brands over the coming year.
The report predicted that a ‘new wave’ of London-centric casual dining groups such as Wahaca, Pho and Franco Manca would continue to drive expansion in the restaurant market.
It added that the capital’s sky-high rents would likely see similar brands expanding to regional city centres and suburban high streets to counter the competition for space in London.
By 2020 the report predicts that this newer ‘sub-segment’ of casual dining will have grown by over 900 outlets, almost doubling in size and becoming more accessible to the wider population.
Campbell said: “[With] good use of technology, smart marketing and giving consumers the food, drinks and experiences they want—plus, crucially, some support from government over industry issues—operators can look forward to 2017 with optimism.”