10,000 restaurant jobs lost in 2018 with more expected

The casual dining crunch saw 30 people a day lose their jobs during 2018 through administrations, CVAs and rationalisation a study by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) has revealed.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Carluccios, Prezzo, Chimichanga, Byron and Jamie’s Italian were amongst the big name restaurant chains that closed outlets last year as the sector struggled with overcapacity and rising operational costs.  

End of year figures show there were a total of 10,413 job losses across the entire casual dining sector in the UK during 2018. CRR director, professor Joshua Bamfield, said each one of the job losses was a “personal tragedy” for the people involved.

CRR forecast a further 10,950 jobs will be lost across the casual dining sector in the UK in 2019 up 5% with independent restaurants being hit the hardest. Bamfield added: “Many of the large chains have already made cuts and, in 2019, we expect the smaller and independent restaurants to bear the weight of the losses.”

Real estate adviser Altus Group said property taxes through business rates in England Wales for restaurants were £564.70m during 2018/19 up by 23.3% representing a two-year cumulative increase of £106.64m since the revaluation came into effect in April 2017.

Small restaurants in England, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, will see business rates bills cut by a third in April through measures taken by the chancellor at the Autumn Budget. However, the help may be limited for restaurants operated by chains given the €200,000 three-year EU state aid cap.

Alex Probyn, president of UK Expert Services at Altus Group, said: “There had been huge growth in the casual dining market with restaurant numbers up 16% overall since 2010. The race for space pushed up rents impacting on rateable values which came into effect in 2017.

“Extra tax for business rates coupled with rising food prices and staff costs through increases in both the national and minimum wages created a lethal cocktail as margins were squeezed.”

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