40% of consumers think the number of restaurant chains on the high street should be capped

Two-fifths of consumers would support a cap on the number of chains opening on UK high streets, new research released today has claimed.

London-based foodtech company GoKart said that half of Brits are now concerned their local high street is being taken over by chains at the expense of independents, following a poll it carried out of 2,000 people.

A third (37%) of consumers admitted to having seen one or more of their favourite local establishments close in the past 12 months alone. Moreover, 43% are concerned this trend is set to continue, with fears that Brexit and the weakening pound will result in more restaurant closures and higher meal prices.

The findings coincide with a report from the government’s Insolvency Service, which found that 984 restaurants fell into administration in 2017 – a 20% increase on the previous year’s figures.

And while the closures of chains like Gaucho and Jamie’s Italian dominate the news, it is actually smaller independent eateries shutting down that consumers are most concerned about.

With 53% of the country preferring to eat out at independent restaurants in order to support local businesses, GoKart said there are calls for the number of fast food and restaurant chains to be capped.

Some 42% of Brits think the government should introduce limits on the number of national or multinational chain restaurants operating on the UK’s high streets.

Elsewhere, the survey revealed the overwhelmingly positive sentiment the public holds towards their local establishments.

63% of Brits believe independent restaurants offer greater varieties of cuisine or more creative dishes over the common foods provided by larger chains. Furthermore, nearly seven in ten (69%) UK adults stated that the freshness and quality of ingredients is the most important thing they look for when choosing a restaurant.

Anx Patel, CEO and founder of GoKart, commented on the findings: “The current market is very challenging for restaurants to survive. With Brexit damaging the strength of the pound and the costs of both ingredients and business rates rising, there is a real challenge for eateries to stay open.

“However, while the closures impacting big restaurant chains might dominate the headlines, today’s research shows that the UK public is actually more concerned with the fate of their local independent high street outlets. Indeed, it is positive to see that over half of UK adults are willing to support their local restaurants, drawn by the diverse offering of different cuisines and foods, not to mention the freshness and high-quality of ingredients that are commonly used.”

GoKart research: Key findings

50% of UK adults – 25.88 million people – are concerned their local high street is being taken over by restaurant and fast food chains, driving out independent businesses.

37% of consumers have seen one or more of their favourite local independent restaurants shutting down in the past 12 months alone.

43% are concerned Brexit and the weakening pound will result in more restaurant closures and higher meal prices.

42% of people believe the UK government should limit the number of national or multi-national chain restaurants opening on the UK’s high streets.

53% of Brits prefer to eat out at independent restaurants because they want to support local businesses.

63% stated that local independent restaurants offer greater varieties of cuisine or more creative dishes when compared to the more common food on offer by larger chains.

43% believe the greatest appeal of large restaurant chains are that they are cheaper and faster than independent establishments.

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