Source: Getty Images

Casual dining and restaurants are leading the way

Over 6,000 hospitality venues in the UK closed over the past year, according to latest figures from UKHospitality.

However, the sector is showing slow signs of recovery, with closures decreasing from eight sites a day in 2023 to four a day in the first quarter of 2024.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the sector was “beginning to recover” but there were still challenges to address.

Commenting on the latest Hospitality Market Monitor by NIQ and AlixPartners, UKH’s stance is that costs must be reduced to stop further closures and to encourage growth instead of halting it.

Together with improved closure rates, the number of food sites grew by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2024, with casual dining venues and independent restaurants leading the way.

“Four hospitality venues closing a day is still four too many,” said Nicholls.

“These closures rob communities of all the benefits hospitality serves up for Britain – the crucial job opportunities, local economic growth and hubs for communities.”

The sector contributes £93bn annually to the economy, and employs over 3.5 million people, making it the third-largest employer in the UK.

“While nascent, these are positive signals, albeit at a time when the sector continues to face tough economic challenges, which continue to put at risk the many benefits hospitality delivers to Britain.

“The closure rate may have halved, but we’re still losing venues and that is not acceptable. It remains the case that the cost burden for the sector is too high, and we need to see those costs rebalanced and reduced, if we are to build on some of the growth we are seeing.”