The number of upmarket and casual dining restaurants in Manchester has doubled in just five years.
That's according to real estate advisor Savills, which puts the total number of restaurant units in the city at 150.
Since the end of 2012, 30 new restaurant brands in the casual dining and upmarket segments have opened in the city, with 14 arriving since the start of 2016, according to the firm's analysis. El Gato Negro, Grafene and Busaba are among the new arrivals of the past 12 months.
In total, there are now more than 540 leisure units, including restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas and other entertainment venues.Savills said that lookin at the leisure market as a whole, a total of 70 new operators have arrived in Manchester since 2012, including 26 which have opened this year.
Increased demand for restaurant space has pushed up rents in prime flagship locations to £40-50 per sq ft (£430-538 per sq m) in Q3 2016 compared to £30-£40 per sq ft (£323-£431 per sq m) five years ago.
And more restaurants are set to arrive, with further details being released this week about developer Allied London's plans for the long-unoccupied London Road fire station site. Allied London is looking for a number of "exciting and independent" restaurant operators to come into the site, with a Zetter hotel due to open there in mid-2018.
Meanwhile, the hotel firm founded by former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs is to launch a new restaurant with chef Michael O'Hare, owner of the Michelin-starred Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds. O'Hare, creative director, at Neville and Giggs' GG Hospitality, is to oversee the launch of a new restaurant in the National Football Museum, Manchester, due to open this year. The Rabbit in the Moon, which will be situated in the fifth and sixth floors of the museum, will be headed up by Luke Cockerill, chef at O'Hare's restaurant the Man Behind the Curtain.
John Agnew, retail and leisure director at Savills, said: "Manchester continues to be a major dining and leisure destination, and the city's offer has grown significantly in recent years. Our analysis shows that aspirational brands feel at home in Manchester, with many new operators arriving to offer both casual dining and more upmarket experiences. There is truly something to suit every wallet and taste."
The most attractive locations for major restaurant operators are Deansgate, the Corn Exchange, Spinningfields, Piccadilly and King Street, according to Savills. Independents continue to favour the Northern Quarter.
Tom Whittington, retail research director at Savills, added: "We noted in 2015 that Manchester's diners were increasingly looking to try new brands and culinary experiences. The figures this year indicate that numerous restaurant operators believe this trend is set to continue. Whilst it is true that some operators have found the city challenging, this is largely due to issues with their individual locations or size of units. Overall, Manchester's dining and leisure scene is thriving."
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