The number of casual dining restaurants in the UK fell for the first time in nine years in 2018.
A fall of 0.1% has been seen since December 2017, according to the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.
However, this should be seen in the context of growth of 27.3% (or 1,241 establishments), over the five years to December 2018.
He added: "Many casual dining brands continue to thrive, and we are seeing continued strong growth for small and medium-sized groups in particular. Operators that have a distinctive offer, execute it brilliantly and select the right sites have a lot to look forward to - but for bigger brands that fail to keep pace with changing consumer habits and demands, the next few years may be a lot more challenging."
Oversupply had been most notable in the high street, which saw numbers fall 1.1% year on year. In suburban casual dining areas, restaurants saw 2.2% growth. Growth of 1.5% was also seen inside the M25, while areas outside the motorway saw a 0.9% fall.
The monitor had better news for pubs and bars, especially those with drink-led offerings, which saw closures slow from 3.6 a day to 2.2 a day over the past 12 months.
Peter Martin said: "The last decade has seen a relentless decline in Britain's number of pubs and bars, but there are welcome signs that the clear out of unsustainable sites is starting to ease. With consumers' drinking trends working in the sector's favour and food-led pub operators facing the same challenges as managed restaurants, the outlook for drinkers' pubs is better than it has been for a long time."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).