A total of 29,684 jobs were lost across fine dining, independent businesses and large multiple casual-dining chains last year, up 163% on the 11,280 jobs lost during the whole of 2019.
This is according to figures compiled by the Centre for Retail Research. Branch closures in 2020 rose by 75.8%, reaching 1,621, up from 922 in 2019, with significant reductions in branches and employee numbers at PizzaExpress, SSP Group, Casual Dining Group/The Big Table, the Restaurant Group, M&B, Harvester Beefeater and Pret A Manger.
According to real estate adviser Altus Group, in England, following the tier adjustments that came into effect on New Year's Eve, 4,946 restaurants are in Tier 3 and a further 22,082 are in Tier 4 and are all closed save for takeaway. Altus Group say just five restaurants in the Isles of Scilly now remain open for diners.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said coronavirus accelerated changes that were already taking place within the sector, adding that the sector grew rapidly in 2014 to 2017 as successful chains added additional branches.
However, he said: "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."