The latest CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey conducted in May found that 75% were optimistic about the prospects for their own business over the next year – 11% higher than in the last poll in February.
However, just 47% are upbeat about the prospects for the wider eating and drinking out sector over the 12 months.
This is also 11% higher than in February, though below the levels seen before the Brexit vote.
“The more upbeat tone of the survey appears at odds with the recent news of some high profile restaurant closures in the first half of this year, driven by business challenges including rising food, people and property costs and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said CGA’s CEO Phil Tate.
“But it might be because of this market shake out, coupled with more stable food prices, that business executives are now gaining more confidence.”
The survey is based on responses from 160 people working in the industry at CEO, MD, chairman, board and senior management levels.
One participant said: “The [restaurant] market is sorting itself out like the pub industry did a few years ago. We are over saturated with some struggling brands. Once they leave, which is happening, there will be opportunities for better brands.”
Another commented: “An unsettled market presents opportunities for established operators with a clear offer.”
Tate said the survey was a reminder that hospitality was an “essentially upbeat industry”.
“CGA’s research shows that like-for-like sales growth is modest, and that many restaurant, pub and bar operators have scaled back their new openings plans—but conditions that challenge some businesses can also bring opportunities for others," he said.