Branded restaurants experienced a 16.6% outlet decline in 2020, research from Lumina Intelligence’s Operator Data Index indicates.

More than 20 groups and operators enter CVAs or insolvency proceedings in 2020, with large periods of no trading and strict capacity restrictions to contain the coronavirus, heavily impacting the sector.

The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated existing issues in the branded restaurant market, with many mid-market brands closing sites that had already been struggling to maintain relevance for several years.

Overall, the top ten casual dining brands, which include fast food and pub restaurants, outperformed the wider segment, seeing outlet decline of just 2.3%, with five of the top ten experiencing outlet growth in 2020.

Branded pub restaurant saw a modest decline of 2%, while traditional fast food grew by 1.5%, with brands able to offer takeaway and delivery during lockdown.

Contemporary fast food , which is more reliant dine-in, declined by 9.2%.

Looking ahead, outlet decline is forecast to level out in 2021 as estates stabilise after 2020 closures.

Contemporary and traditional fast food are forecast to see outlet growth, while branded restaurant and pubs will see outlet decline decelerate significantly.

Katherine Prowse, insight manager at Lumina Intelligence said: “With delivery and takeaway solutions still operating throughout the lockdown, it is unsurprising that there has been an increase in the number of traditional fast food outlets in the UK. For branded restaurants and pubs and bars, opportunities to open dine-in operations have been incredibly limited, resulting in large causalities across the sector. However, despite the current lockdown, we are predicting overall outlet volumes to remain firm in 2021, as the operators stabilise following the impact of 2020.”

  • Find out more about the Lumina Intelligence Operator Data Index here.