The credit crunch is making it increasingly difficult for independent restaurant operators to get a foothold in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, North-west restaurateurs have warned.
Liverpool restaurateurs Gary and Paul Manning, who are expanding their portfolio this autumn with the launch of HoSt, a new a 100-seat Asian fusion restaurant, fear that chain operators are beginning to take over.
"It's very difficult for independent operators to launch restaurants in Liverpool, and we fought off a number of chains to get this property," Gary Manning told Caterersearch.
"There is a lot happening in the city with the launch of Liverpool One, but it's all chain operators that are going into the development. We were in a good position to get this site as we already own two restaurants in the area, but for someone trying to enter the market it's really hard," he added.
"It's the same in Manchester and, wherever you go, all you see is chains and hardly any independent restaurants."
HoSt, which will open at the end of October, will be on Hope Street, near the brothers' existing restaurants, 60 Hope Street and the Quarter.
It will comprise a main dining room, alongside a lounge bar and an alfresco terrace, and will offer a menu drawing on both Eastern and Western influences. Dishes will include dim sum, noodle dishes and stir-fries, and the menu will incorporate seasonal British produce giving it a "Western twist".
Liverpool One, which will open on 1 October, will house 160 shops, a cinema and 230,000sq ft of restaurants, cafés and bars, including chain operators such as Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pizza Hut and Yo! Sushi.
In January, Raymond Blanc's Brasserie Blanc announced it was pulling out of a planned launch at the development, as it was "too posh for a precinct".
By Kerstin Kühn
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