Considering notable closures among the mid-market restaurant chains in the last year, it might come as a surprise that the restaurant and bars category saw the third largest number of net openings in 2018. There were 218 net restaurant and bar openings, up from 174 in 2017 (25% increase)[source], and 176 in 2016[source].
There is every reason for the independent restaurant trade to have some optimism; the eating out market is valued at £89.5 billion [source] with independent restaurants making up 68% of sales[source]. The younger generation are fuelling a large part of this dining out culture, with 58% of millennials eating out at least once a week[source].
Vegan restaurants are the top growing niche restaurant category, with 16 new units opening in 2018[source]. 2017 saw a net growth of 10 units open in the UK (an increase of 61.5%). These vegan restaurateurs are capitalising on the growing number of people that are turning vegan or adopting a ‘flexitarian’ approach to eating. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of vegans quadrupled in the UK[source].
365 Business Finance has seen a 100% increase in demand for its Merchant Cash Advance product among restaurant businesses, and pubs and bars seeing a 52% increase in demand.