Britain has 3,116 fewer restaurants, bars, pubs and other licensed premises than 12 months ago, with the year-on year rate of decline having increased from 1.3% at the time of the last quarterly report in March, to 2.5% for the year to June 2018. This took the total number of sites to 119,800 licensed sites, with an average net closure rate of around eight premises per day.
Overall the number of restaurants fell by 1% (264 premises) in the year to June, however, when compared with June 2013 numbers are still up 11%. The number of pubs and bar dropped by 2.4% to 49,982 sites.
London has seen a 2.3% decline in numbers, but falls were seen in every part of the country, with Wales seeing numbers drop by 3.4% and the north-west by 1.7%.
However the report said there were bright spots in terms of openings, with Manchester (+25.1%), Liverpool (+23.7%) and Leeds (+20.9%) now home to at least a fifth more licensed premises than five years ago. Oxford has also seen a huge boost to the number branded restaurants in the past year (+40.5%), due to the opening of the Westgate development.
As a general rule newer restaurant brands tend to be opening at a faster rate than larger, more established ones, with Franco Manca and Five Guys adding on sites at a pace over the past year, and Nando’s the fastest growing brand of all, with 19 net new openings over the past five years, found the report.
“The Monitor tells the story of a market responding to current pressures,” says Graeme Smith, managing director at AlixPartners.
“Restaurant expansion is still on the agenda for some companies, particularly in those locations across the UK that have previously been under-served by casual dining operators - but management teams and investors need to carefully consider their opening strategies.”