F&B on the rise

Published:  15 May, 2017

The sector now accounts for a fifth of all UK retail and leisure units

Food and beverage operators plan to capitalise on changing shopping habits by opening nearly 3,000 new restaurants and cafes in the two years to the end of 2018, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Food & Beverage Market report.

Cushman & Wakefield surveyed 95 F&B operators on their future plans with results suggesting there will be a net addition of 1,414 units in 2017 from these operators and the wider market followed by 1,515 in 2018. These expansion plans will require consumer F&B outlay to increase by a net £674m and £722m respectively.

The research revealed that between January 2014 and January 2017 the number of clothing, footwear and white goods shops decreased by 2,185, while the number of restaurants and cafes increased by 2,998 – growth of 9%. As a result, F&B now accounts for one fifth of all retail and leisure units.

Cafés, fast food and takeaways have seen the strongest growth within the food and beverage sector, up 1,527 and 1,035 respectively in the last three years.

In the same period, the number of restaurants has increased by 897, with expansion of American food operators, such as Red’s True Barbeque. The growth in American cuisine has come at the expense of Indian and Chinese restaurants, with the removal of 205 and 192 sites respectively.

The report also shows that food and beverage expansion has also become increasingly dominated by multiple retailers – defined as those with five outlets or more. These operators accounted for 37% of net expansion in 2014, which had increased to 49 per cent by 2016. Cushman & Wakefield expects this market share will continue to rise as multiple operators expand their presence across the UK.

Thomas Rose, head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Leisure & Restaurants team, said: “Online retailing has grown rapidly and, as a result, consumers are changing their habits. Food and beverage outlets, which offer an experience that cannot be replaced wholly online, present an opportunity for landlords to increase dwell time and expenditure within their centres. They also allow them to capture a larger slice of the total available catering market by moving from pure retail to experiential destinations where people go not just to shop, but also to socialise and be entertained.”

Darren Yates, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of retail insight, added: “The total growth in the eating out market can sustain the projected growth in outlet numbers but several downside risks remain, such as higher inflation, potential business rate increases, a rise in the living wage and, potentially, tighter labour laws due to Brexit.” 

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