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The UK restaurant industry experienced consumers spend £18.81 billion on food and £7.37 billion on drink within the market in 2011, bringing its total value to £26.18 billion. This marks a 1.7% rise in the overall market value when compared to 2010.
Overall, the UK restaurant industry has proven its resilience in the face of the economic downturn. This is because eating out and going for drinks has become a fundamental part of consumers' lifestyles in the UK. In spite of financial uncertainty, many consumers continue to maintain this aspect of their social lives.
They are, however, keener than ever to ensure they are getting value-for-money and loyalty to particular brands or individual restaurants is waning as a result of more consumers searching for the best deal for their food and drink.
Mitchells & Butlers and Gondola Holdings were the clear leaders of the UK restaurant industry in 2011, accounting for 4% and 3% of total value sales and 22% and 17% of chained value sales respectively.
Gondola Holdings represents the leading brand PizzaExpress, alongside the other pizza casual dining chains Zizzi and Ask. These chains benefit from their strong branding and frequent price promotions, along with their large networks with the company leading in outlet volume terms with 639 outlets.
Mitchells & Butlers meanwhile offers the casual dining European FSR chains Harvester, Crown Carveries, Premium Country Dining and Browns. These chains offer a wide range of dishes and are popular with families. The company also benefits from the frequent use of price promotions and a large outlet volume, ranking third in outlet volume terms with 403 outlets.
In 2012, the impact of the European football championships on the UK restaurants trade was unlikely to be positive, with the experience of previous events indicating that fall in eating out spend will be most likely, with a shift in consumer spending away from restaurants towards pubs. However, sales of takeaway food are likely to rise during the event, benefiting operators who specialise in this area.
The hope for the London Olympic Games and The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was that these events may provide a general boost to consumer confidence leading to more eating out.
The UK restaurant industry has been forecast to face a challenging time through to 2016. The channel will continue to suffer due to ongoing economic concerns, with many consumers opting for cheaper options such as fast food, 100% home delivery/takeaway, home-made food and packaged food.
For more information on the UK restaurant industry, see the latest research: UK Restaurant Industry
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