The number of restaurant sector job losses so far this year are nearly double those lost in the whole of 2019, according to the Centre for Retail Research.

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, 22,039 jobs have already been lost across large restaurant groups and independent operators in the last eight months, representing a 95.4% increase on the 11,280 job losses reported for the entirely of 2019.

Large causal dining groups accounted for the most losses, with 13,849 jobs cut in the casual sector compared to 5,760 in the independent sector.

Last week, Pizza Express became the latest large casual operator to announce a post-coronavirus restructuring, with plans to permanently cut up to 1,100 jobs and shut around 67 restaurants.

Over the course of the crisis, operators including Carluccio’s, Byron and Casual Dining Group all entered administration, with the latter re-branding last week – as The Big Table - under new owners Epiris, saving over 150 restaurants and 4,000 jobs.

Centre for Retail Research director, Professor Joshua Bamfield, predicted that as the industry looks to navigate its recovery, there will be more pain ahead.

“The sector was already in severe difficulties before the pandemic as a result of rapid over-expansion fuelled by private equity acquisitions, with the enforced lockdown serving to starve operators of revenue bringing restaurateurs now to their knees,” he said.

The figures also revealed that 1,467 restaurants and casual dining outlets closed over the period, representing a 59.1% increase on the total 922 sites which closed last year.