The findings, in the latest CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey, are based on respondents working at senior management level in June.
It marks an increase of 9% from CGA’s last confidence study in Q4 2018, when 20% said their business was performing below expectations.
A third say they are planning refurbishments across more sites this year than last, with only 14% planning fewer.
There was also muted optimism for the rest of the year. Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed think consumers will eat and drink out less often in the next six months than they do now, while just 9% predict they will do so more often.
But 61% of respondents from drinks-led businesses say they feel optimistic about the market going forward, compared to just 33% of food-led businesses.
CGA group chief executive Phil Tate says: “Our survey suggests that for many big brands in the sector, the aim for the second half of 2019 will be to preserve market share and invest in current assets ahead of new openings.
“The patchy optimism among food-led business leaders confirms that 2019 has been a rough ride, with casual dining operators buffeted by ferocious headwinds and several high-profile brands struggling. But leaders of drink-led businesses clearly feel they have much more to look forward to—a sign that after many years of pub closures and restaurant expansion, the tables have turned.”