Since 2012 a net average of 743 new units opened per year, but in the past 12 months this figure has nearly doubled to 1,333, an increase of 44%.
Restaurants and bars saw one of the biggest net increases (+210 sites), with a rise in vegan, Jamaican, Caribbean, Turkish and American cuisine.
However, the numbers of pubs (-254), Indian restaurants (-79) and Chinese restaurants (-62) all declined. The UK’s curry sector has been hit by an ongoing shortage of skilled chefs, which the Bangladesh Caterers Association predicts could lead to 10-15 Indian restaurants closing a week.
Wales, the West Midlands and East of England had the highest growth rates of new outlets, while Greater London and Yorkshire and the Humber saw the lowest.
The study follows the publication of MCA’s UK Market Report, which warns that the supply of new F&B openings is outstripping consumer demand.
MCA predicts that the restaurant market is set to reach a value of £20bn in 2017, but the industry will face a slowdown in openings caused by rising cost pressures and the fall-out from over-expansion.
“Our own data shows how the supply growth is now exceeding consumer demand and this is leading to a market correction with a significant slowdown in net openings and a rise in unprofitable property tails among many operators,” says Steve Gotham, MCA’s director of insight.
LDC echoed the concerns, warning that uncertainty around inflation and Brexit means more operators will see their margins 'squeezed so hard that they will have to close’.