High-street restaurant rents have grown by 10-20% across the country over the past five years, according to property agent Fleurets.
While Fleurets predicts that the rate of growth will slow over the next 12 months, it calculates that because most restaurant leases are tied to upward-only rent reviews - typically for 10 or 25 years - rents will continue to rise.
Access to lower rents is possible, however, mainly when properties change hands. As half of all restaurants fail in their first year, this appears a promising option - apart from the fact that there's always a strong pipeline of keen potential buyers.
Fleurets has registered 24,000 parties seeking restaurant sites over the past 12 months.
Another opportunity lies with high-street bars, where demand from multiple operators has dropped following the saturation of the high street in the 1990s. While most of these sites are too large for restaurants, property agents have noted an emerging trend for landlords to agree to split the area, either between two separate operators or between two brands owned by one of the larger restaurant groups.
Restaurant rents vary considerably, but Fleurets estimates that they average 60% of the values quoted for high street superpubs.
Average high street rents - 2004
|Average annual rent||Superpubs||Traditional pubs|
|London, West End||£180,997||£88,485|
|City of London||£147,829||£70,030|