Optimism in the restaurant industry has taken a substantial hit in 2010, according to a new study by KPMG. The professional services firm said that its research had found that just 23.9% of companies in the restaurant and hotel sectors were confident of the future The figure has dropped by nine percentage points on the previous quarter’s score in February 2010 and is well below the global average score of +43.9% in KPMG’s Global Business Outlook survey. However, KPMG reported that the outlook in the UK was more positive in some areas – including larger branded restaurants and some pub operators. The study of 1,100 worldwide manufacturers and service providers, which was undertaken by Markit, also discovered that net balances for the sector’s revenue outlook, global profits and incoming new business also fell compared to the last quarter, while prospects for employment saw the most dramatic fall, from +12.9% of respondents in February 10 to -0.5 %. Richard Hathaway, head of travel leisure and tourism at KPMG, said: “Having borne the brunt of the fall-out from recession and as a typical bellwether of consumer spending, the global hotels and restaurants sector remains distinctly cautious, unsure of the true extent of customer confidence for the coming 12 months. “However, in the UK the situation is more positive in some areas, such as the larger branded restaurants and pubs who have managed to maintain relatively good sales levels compared with last year, through widespread money off promotions. “Also hoteliers, particularly those in London who benefit from an international customer base, are seeing a return to growth, with both occupancy and room rates on the increase again.”