The eating out market is currently valued at £89.4bn and is growing by just 1.5% according to a report by the MCA, an eating and drinking market insight company.
Growth is at its lowest rate since 2013, with the MCA’s report also finding that a fall in customer demand is the reason 327,000 eat-out outlets across the UK are struggling.
The report discovered that lower ticket sectors are faring best, as a wider economic uncertainty has led to a ‘casual dining crunch’, hitting restaurants the hardest.
The top 10 eating out brands are now all part of the £10bn club, but the market is fragmented with these operators accounting for only 17.6% of total market sales, growing at 0.3%.
The research went on to find that the most consolidated parts of the market are supermarkets, bakeries and coffee shops, while branded fast food and restaurants move away from a high concentration of consolidation with contemporary brands like Pret and Itsu challenging the established leading players like McDonald’s & KFC.
The reports says leading operators within the branded restaurant sector are set to suffer the most in 2018 with a predicted decline of 1.6%.
However, the report does state that there is hope that the sector will see more stability in a post-Brexit world.
The MCA has predicted modest growth by 2021 with turnover growth at around 2% and outlet growth at 0.2%, envisaging 331,131 outlets and a market value of £94.4bn.