During 2020 a total 29,684 jobs were lost across fine dining, independent businesses and large multiple casual-dining chains, a rise of 163% on last year’s figures, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).
Site closures last year rose by 75.8% reaching 1,621 up from 922 in 2019 with significant reductions in the number of venues and employee numbers at a number of high street restaurant and pub groups, including PizzaExpress, SSP Group, Casual Dining Group/The Big Table, The Restaurant Group, M&B, Harvester Beefeater and Pret a Manger.
The figures show just how severely impacted the hospitality sector was during 2020 by the Coronavirus and the regulations put in place to stop its spread with many businesses unable to trade for parts of the year.
The Coronavirus has accelerated changes that were already taking place within the sector, according to professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the CRR.
“The sector experienced rapid growth in outlets during 2014 to 2017 as successful chains added additional branches,” he says.
“But they frequently paid too much whilst maintaining quality standards proved difficult. The need to cut costs caused by over-expansion, increased competition and weak consumer demand produced a crisis in the industry before the pandemic.”
Given the tier adjustments that came into effect on New Year’s Eve, 4,946 restaurants in England are in Tier 3 while a further 22,082 are in Tier 4 and are all closed except for takeaway, according to the real estate adviser Altus Group.
Just five restaurants in the Isles of Scilly remain open for diners, it says.