Southsea has seen a rapid new restaurant growth since the pandemic. Research shows that since Covid-19 the UK’s casual dining fare is no longer just about big brands. Independents are stepping into the gaps left by the chains. According to the Local Data Company (LDC) which monitors 3,000 areas across England, Scotland and Wales, Southsea was the second top UK area for restaurant growth with a net increase of 42%. The number of local restaurants in the UK has increased since March 2020 – up by 3.7% or 888 more according to LDC – as cheaper rents have made it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses.
The losers have been big brands in particular pizza and burger chains such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Italian chains Strada and Carluccio’s. A net 11.4% of chain restaurants, or about 700 outlets in the UK, have disappeared since March 2020, according to the LDC.
In a recent article in The Guardian , Stefan Chomka, the editor of Restaurant magazine, says the pandemic has changed the balance of power between landlords and restaurateurs, opening the way for cheaper rent deals.
“[Landlords] are much more willing to give smaller nimbler restaurant groups a go,” he says.
Chomka sees small brands with fewer than five sites as the ones that will really benefit from the changes wrought by the pandemic as they can now offer “that young feel that landlords are really craving”. “They could double or triple their sites in a short amount of time,” he says.
He says “it is not about big brands any more” and landlords are looking to curate sites with more variety, and less familiar names creating space for a new wave of private equity-backed brands.