Restaurant industry in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

In recent years the restaurant industry in the United Kingdom has undergone a period of growth. Consumer expenditure on restaurants and cafes reached close to 88 billion British pounds in 2017. The number of enterprises has been steadily increasing, contributing 17.9 billion British pounds to the non-financial business economy in 2016.

Eating out is a popular leisure time activity in the UK. Restaurants and other food services make up the largest proportion of leisure sector revenue, with Deloitte estimating turnover for the subsector to be 29.3 billion British pounds in 2014. In 2017 households spent an average of 19 British pounds a week on restaurant and café meals, the figure being even higher for those aged 30 to 64.

The quick service restaurant (QSR) sector is a significant contributor to spending, with 44 percent of consumers visiting a quick service or fast food restaurant at least once a week as of 2015. American fast food giants McDonalds, KFC and Subway topped the list of places consumers most often chose to visit.

Branded restaurants generally appear to be the more popular choice among UK consumers. Visits to independents showed a decline between 2008 and 2016 while brands have seen an increase in visitors. The casual dining sector in particular is dominated by brands, with Pizza Express and Nandos alone operating over 441 and 395 outlets across the UK in 2017 respectively. NPD measured spending in the casual dining market to be worth 4.7 billion British pounds in 2015 and expected this figure to rise in 2016 and 2017. Pub food has also become a popular casual dining option, with pub chain Wetherspoons reporting an increase in food sales since the turn of the millennium.

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