A string of cities and towns along the south coast are among the hottest spots in Britain for new restaurant openings, the latest Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA reveals.

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The region has come into focus as operators seek growth in areas previously under-served by casual dining restaurants. Southampton has been chief among the target cities, with the number of food-led licensed premises in its centre rising by 10.2% in the last year alone, the Market Growth Monitor shows. It means that two thirds (66.0%) of Southampton’s licensed premises are now food-led—a higher proportion than any other city centre in Britain, including London.

Many of Southampton’s new openings have come at the new Watermark leisure area of the Westquay retail centre. While established brands like Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Byron, Wagamama and Nando’s have become part of the mix at Watermark, it is also now home to many operators seeking to expand beyond London, including Cabana, Tortilla, Wahaca, Real Greek and CAU.

The Market Growth Monitor shows there has been a flurry of new openings at other retail and leisure developments along the south coast, including at Bournemouth’s BH2 and Princesshay in Exeter, where the number of licensed premises has jumped by 36.5% in the last five years. Plymouth, where planned developments include two regeneration projects from Urban Splash, could see similar growth in the next few years. 

The Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA also reveals a broadly flat market for new openings across Britain, with fledgling casual dining brands growing at a much faster rate than bigger multi-site operators. The full report is available from CGA now.

     

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