A recent Big Hospitality article has reported that the ‘UK eating out market [is] growing at [the] slowest rate in seven years.’. We asked CADA Co-founder David Anderson to respond to this news.

The first question to ask: Is it? The report, co-commissioned between Big Hospitality and MCA said that on the face of it, the growth rate is at its slowest in seven years. But the market is still growing.

Our estimation is that the lower priced sector of the market and the top end of the market is robust. It is the middle sector of the market that we see growing more slowly. There are other factors at work here, too. High profile chain collapses, the rise of home delivery, and simply over-supply.

MCA suggest that average spend is up but this is being driven by price rises. These we see as a filtering through of wage increases and the increased business rates imposed a couple of years back. Brexit effect on sterling notwithstanding, we are optimistic for the UK dining market. Yes, we are seeing more home delivery, but this is the new convenience food, not a dining experience.

Anecdotally, we are seeing most of our UK clients and indeed those coming from oversees moving towards top-end-but-casual dining.

In the middle tier it is always a shame to see restaurant failures and losses, but it also creates new opportunity for innovation and new operators coming into the market.

“…we are optimistic for the UK dining market. Yes, we are seeing more home delivery, but this is the new convenience food, not a dining experience.”

The good news from MCA’s report is that overall, the market is still exhibiting growth. This is reflected in the confidence that we see in our UK clients.

Yes, we saw the market stalling for some months after the Brexit vote, but it has been dragging on for so long that doing nothing is no longer an option. Dining like retail is fast moving. The consumer demands constant innovation, hence why we are seeing brands coming into the UK from markets as diverse as GCC and the far east.

The picture may be different post October 31st, but right now albeit with some market recalibration we continue to design and implement dining environments for our clients who want to amaze their guests.