Independents are losing trade hand over fist to branded chains, especially in London where brands account for 80% of quick service restaurant visits and 68% of full service, according to the latest data from The NPD Group.
The inexorable rise of the branded outlet has seen independents' takings nose dive from £30b to £23.2b in the past eight years with 1.7 billion visits lost along the way.
In 2008 the market share for brands versus independents was 43% versus 57% nationally, but the latest figures show an almost complete reversal of fortune with brands now taking 56% of visits. The same is true of sales with brands achieving annual sales of over £30b now, up from £20.9b eight years ago.
NPD director of foodservice UK Cyril Lavenant commented: "For the branded sector to have reversed its market share with independents over just eight years underlines how quickly Britain's foodservice market is changing. Independents are struggling to be relevant and appealing to customers on the British high street and clearly do not ‘speak' well to young adults. Foodservice chains do a better job with meal deals and promotions."
The shift from independents to brands is even more drastic in the pub sector as branded pubs have increased the number of visits received by 65% in the same period, while independents have seen business drop by 48%. In full service excluding cafes and bistros, independents are down 28% while brands have soared 39% in terms of visits.
Brands are doing particularly well with young people. In the pub sector brands account for 20% of visits for 25-34 year olds, against 11% for independents. In full service brands attract 25% of visits in the same age group and in the 18-24 year old sector attract twice as many visits as independents.