Restaurant insolvencies increased by 25% in the past year with more than 1,400 businesses closing their doors for good.
Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, which conducted the research, said falling consumer confidence, rising costs and the collapse of sterling had hit a casual dining sector already struggling with over-saturation.
Peter Kubik, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “The crisis in the restaurant sector has been presented as a problem only for the chains that had lost touch with their customers. That’s overlooking the hundreds of small, independent restaurants that have become insolvent.
“Good restaurants and bad have all struggled from over-capacity, weak consumer spending and surging costs. Having a loyal following is great, but if that loyal following stops going out, then you have a problem.
“The number of restaurants whose sales are at or near capacity is pretty small – they’re the exception.”
UHY Hacker Young found that the UK’s top 100 restaurants had made a collective £82m loss in the year to 30 June 2019, down from a pre-tax profit of £102m 12 months previously.