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UK Restaurant Market Thrives Amidst Economic Challenges: Valued at £18.6bn in 2023

The UK restaurant market exhibited resilience in 2023, reaching a valuation of £18.6 billion despite economic challenges marked by high inflation, the industry experienced a commendable growth rate of +4.4% during the same period, according to the latest insights from Lumina Intelligence’s Operator Data Index,

The report highlights that the overall eating out market achieved a slightly higher growth rate of +5.8%, indicating that restaurant closures and restricted consumer spending have posed challenges for further market expansion.

Notably, branded restaurants emerged as a success story in 2023, achieving a remarkable turnover growth of +7.7%. The market has witnessed a distinct polarization, with premium brands such as The Ivy, Côte, and Miller & Carter thriving while mid-market brands faced struggles. The shifting preferences of consumers have notably favoured fast-growing brands like Flat Iron and Rudy’s Pizza, which offer high-quality experiences at accessible price points.

In an effort to boost profitability, restaurant groups have strategically rationalised their estates. Leading brands experienced a decline in estate size by a combined average of -2.6%, largely driven by mid-market chains undergoing estate restructuring to alleviate debt. Seizing this opportunity, stronger operators such as The Big Table Group increased their acquisition activity, aiming to consolidate market positioning, secure synergies, and expand their reach.