According to the latest Market Recovery Monitor, the number of restaurants in Britain fell from 43,126 to 38,922 between March 2020 and April 2021, a drop of 9.7%.
Drink-led venues suffered slightly less, with a 5.6% fall from 61,229 to 57,783 across the same time period.
In total, the number of licensed venues across Britain has fallen by 7.4% from 115,108 to 106,548; a deficit of 8,560.
Just under a third (32.9%) of all licensed premises traded during Britain’s first phase of post-lockdown reopening, with most of the 67.1% of operators that have not yet traded able to do so from today (17 May) following the easing of restrictions on indoor hospitality settings.
More than 35,000 sites have welcomed guests since restrictions began to lift on outdoor hospitality settings on Monday 12 April, with pubs returning in significantly higher numbers than restaurants.
Across Britain, nearly half (49.0%) of all food pubs and more than a third of community pubs (38.7%) and high street pubs (36.0%) traded in the first phase of reopening, compared to three in ten (29.2%) casual dining restaurants and one in six (16.6%) other restaurants.
In England, 29.6% of venues have traded since venues were permitted to open for outdoor-only service. The figure was slightly higher (31.1%) in Scotland, where operators had to wait until Monday 26 April, but were given the extra freedom to serve food indoors without alcohol until 8pm. Capacity was notably lower in Wales (24.6%).
The Market Recovery Monitor highlights some strong reopening rates in major city centres during this phase, including Leeds (41.7%), Newcastle (37.9%) and Manchester (37.3%), but lower numbers in London (29.1%). It suggests a good first phase of reopening for managed sites, with just over half (52.4%) of these trading — more than twice the number of independents (24.0%).
“Pubs, bars and restaurants with the space to trade have returned confidently since mid-April," observes Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA.
"Consumers’ enthusiasm, decent April weather and the opening up of street-side space by some enlightened local authorities have all worked in their favour, and encouraged more venues to open up in the weeks since. But the fact remains that more than two thirds of Britain’s licensed premises were still unable able to welcome guests, and thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants have been closed for good during the pandemic.
"As we enter the second phase of hospitality’s reboot, the landscape of eating and drinking out is going to be much changed from pre-Covid.”