Throughout the financial downturn the F&B market has stood strong while other markets around them have stumbled; this has only been achieved thanks to the diversity of the sector and the UK’s desire to dine out. There are numerous businesses achieving impressive growth, notably Byron Burger and Five Guys are starting to push their offering out of the capital and grow in the regions. The usual businesses such as Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Starbucks have continued to acquire at a similar rate to previous years and are still looking for the same type of properties. What is interesting is that due to the increasingly difficult times on the high street a number of F&B operators are starting to look away from the high street and are starting to look at growth within retail (and now leisure) parks and shopping centres. The importance of shopping centres offering more F&B outlets has increased the footfall as people look to get everything they can from a visit.
London continues to be the epicentre for F&B groups and in an increasingly competitive market space is at an all time premium. These difficulties have increased the importance of Surveyors and Property professionals as well as the demand for specialist property recruitment businesses. The work we continue to do clearly shows the increasing availability of property jobs, specifically Retail and Leisure Estate jobs.
Although London is still by far the major force when it comes to high end F&B offerings, Manchester has a number of new exciting developments with restaurants and bars opening up on a regular basis. The Spinnigfields development has been well supported by a number of well known UK brands and includes heavy investment by North West business Living Ventures who have secured a number of sites within the trendy development. As a business Living Ventures are looking to make their first foray into the Capital with the recent acquisition of a new possible restaurant/bar in the City. The addition of Aiden Byrne at Manchester House and Simon Rogan taking over at The French has added the fine dining experience that has been missing in Manchester since The French lost its Michelin Star in 1974-surely the coveted Michelin Star is just round the corner. It will be interesting to see who secures it first as Rogan and Byrne battle it out.
The growth that is being seen across the UK is in stark contrast to the effect the downturn has had on retailers, with many of them still feeling the effects of the crash and only now are high street retailers starting to focus their efforts on acquisitions and development.
There have been difficulties with the likes of Café Rouge experiencing troubled times however their parent company Tragus Group have hit back hard recently with talks of acquiring up to 100 stores in the next few years with a strong focus on Bella Italia as they look to grow both on the High Street but also within Retail and Leisure parks.
The Restaurant Group continues to thrive and has been arguably one of the sectors’ star performers with acquisitions continuing for major brands like Frankie and Bennys and Chiquito. Pizza Express was recently bought out of the Gondola Group and is looking to expand across the UK. A number of international restaurant and bar operators are starting to make their mark on the UK’s food industry and It is extremely encouraging to see major investment from outside of the UK and as Foundation Recruitment continue to progress with our International Recruitment it is clear that the next few years are shaping up to be extremely busy, both here and overseas.