Data from CGA and AlixPartners shows that although growth in the hospitality sector has, at 1.8%, been modest since last June, small restaurant groups (those with 25 sites or fewer) have still managed to achieve a 32% increase in the number of site over the past three years.
Medium-sized operators, with between 25-99 sites, increased their number of sites by 47.7%, but the number of premises run by large companies of 100 or more only increased by 7.6%, the Market Growth Monitor report shows.
Brands such as Wahaca, Honest Burgers, Pho and Le Bistrot Pierre were among a number of the smaller groups that have expanded rapidly in the past few years, according to the report, while Nando’s and Wagamama, both operating at 100 or more restaurants, are among the larger players that have continued to expand at pace, it says.
The research also shows the concentration of new concepts is especially noticeable in London, where small brands have seen a 37.8% increase since June 2014, and larger operators experienced a fall of 4.3%.
“Although it is clear the casual dining market has matured, the reality is tired offerings that fail to evolve will have a limited shelf life in any environment.” says Paul Hemming, managing director of AlixPartners.
“For emerging operators with a differentiated, consistent product, there will still be ample room to blossom.”
Reasons given for the past year’s deceleration in growth pertains to rising food and property costs, an evolving market, weak consumer confidence and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.