The rate of casual dining restaurant closures slowed in 2019, but it was not enough to stop job losses in the sector increasing by 8%.
Research by real estate services company Altus Group and the Centre for Retail Research found that 922 casual dining restaurants closed in 2019 compared to 1,188 in 2018.
Despite this, 11,280 jobs were lost across the casual dining sector in 2019 compared to 10,413 in 2018.
Last year saw the closure of Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant Group, while in the previous year sites were lost by Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron, Prezzo and others.
Alex Probyn, president of UK expert services at Altus Group, said market saturation, high rents, which in turn pushed up rateable values, and rising costs had “created a lethal cocktail”.
However, it was not just well-known chains affected, with more than half the casual dining closures coming from independents. Professor Joshua Bamfield, a director at the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Maintaining quality standards had also proved difficult, leading to the need to cut costs caused by the sector’s over-expansion, greater competition and weak consumer demand.
“The main problems in 2020 are likely to be found among the independents, who often lack the resources to reinvest or change their business model.”