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Restaurants in the UK - statistics & facts

The UK restaurant and food service industry had undergone a period of growth prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020, with revenues showing an increasing trend over the years. However even before the pandemic, restaurants were struggling to survive, as many succumbed to closures in 2018 and 2019. Rising costs, reduced consumer spending, and an over-saturated market from the boom in casual dining brands in the preceeding years, are all said to have contributed to insolvencies of independent restaurants, and the closure of several big chain outlets. Now, with the uncertainty of Brexit and an unexpected pandemic, the future of the industry is less known. Restaurant industry revenues were forecast to fall by around 33 percent in 2020, but the outlook suggested a full recovery by 2024.

Have Brits fallen out of love with eating out?

Eating out remains a popular leisure time activity in the UK. Households were spending an average of around 19 British pounds a week on restaurant and café meals in 2019, not including takeaways. Naturally, lockdown measures had a severe impact on the industry in 2020, when restaurants were forced to close. Sales were slow to pick up as restaurants began to re-open to the public in July, although the UK government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme proved to be successful in encouraging diners back to restaurants. When surveyed in October 2020, most consumers said they were comfortable with returning to restaurants, though a significant proportion were still wary.

Where do people eat out in the UK?

Pub restaurants are among the most popular types of restaurants in the UK. A form of casual dining, they often sell traditional British “pub grub”, such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, and Sunday roasts, or carvery dinners. Other popular restaurants include those offering Asian cuisines, and pizza and Italian restaurants. In fact, some of the most visited restaurant chains include such brands as Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, and Frankie & Benny’s, although peri peri chicken chain Nando’s still ranked higher in 2019. In the quick-service segment, bakery chain Greggs is among the most popular brands, as are global fast-food giants McDonalds and Subway.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 44 most important statistics relating to "Restaurants in the UK".


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