Chains playing real-life Monopoly in scrap for best sites

Leicester Square

A shortage of available restaurant sites in London’s West End means that up to 50 operators at a time are now bidding for prime locations that appear on the market.

Experts at property agents Savills told The Daily Telegraph that it is not uncommon for the most highly prized sites to receive up to 50 bids, while sites of around 2,000 square feet are typically attracting between 15 and 20 bidders.

Chain operators remain at the forefront of the high street property race as they continue to wield their financial power to secure the locations that promise the greatest footfall.

And with more international chains arriving in the market, the battle is predicted to intensify. Some overseas foodservice operators are reportedly waiting up to a year for the right site because of the increase in demand.

Philip Sandzer, director of retail and leisure at commercial property consultants Devono, told the paper: “The lack of availability is partly down to the expansion, in the past five years, of a number of hugely successful restaurant high street brands such as Cote, Bills and Byron.

“There are also very limited prime retail A1 and restaurant A3 developments in London’s development pipeline, which is choking supply.”

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