Branded restaurants and pubs have announced cuts to their estates of 7.5% already this year, with fears that many more sites still closed since lockdown may never reopen.

Based on Lumina Intelligence’s Operator Data Index, the research examines a sample of more than 250 branded restaurants, pub-bar restaurants, and traditional and contemporary fast food operators.

The outlet decline so far in 2020 follows drop offs of 3.5% in 2018 and 2% in 2019.

Seven of the top ten casual dining brands are set to experience outlet decline in 2020, with Burger King, Pizza Express and Pret each confirming closures, citing reduced trading as a key factor.

The Operator Data Index tracks 252 brands, broken down into 138 restaurant brands, 55 branded pub/bar restaurants, 17 traditional fast food brands, and 42 contemporary fast food brands.

The decline does not factor in the fact the many sites that remain closed since lockdown which may never reopen.

A separate study found nearly a quarter of the UK’s licensed premises had yet to reopen by the end of August, with the London market particularly slow to recover.

CGA and AlixPartner’s Market Recovery Monitor estimates 27,000 sites remain closed, with central London still well below capacity at 71.2% compared to other major cities including Liverpool (81.5%), Manchester (79.9%) and Birmingham (79.6%).