2019 is quickly coming to a close and we thought it only right to reflect: to step back at the end of another tumultuous year for the eating and drinking out market, away from the hurly burly of our day-to-day work, to take stock and look hard at the big issues we are facing now, and more importantly the challenges before us in the coming year.

We have much to ponder. It’s a time of unprecedented cahange and uncertainty, with cost pressures and competition for consumers’ time and money as intense as they have ever been. Brexit rolls on, and just to throw everything up in the air, we have December’s General Election – which may or may not bring some clarity.

2019 has been tough. For many, survival is more of a priority than looking for growth. Retrenchment is a word more commonly heard. But at the same time the public continues to go out to socialise, or be entertained or to grab their daily lunch – and entrepreneurial newcomers are still setting up shop. Enthusiasm and innovation are far from dead.

As we look brightly into 2020, we thought it would be interesting to share with you a collection of our most popular articles on the CGA blog in 2019 (by number of pageviews).

Dig in, and just click the heading / title to open each article.

  1. UK managed restaurant numbers drop for first time in nine years (February 25, 2019)
    Britain’s supply of managed restaurants dipped for the first time in nine years in 2018 as a sustained decline in the wider licensed sector continued, reveals the February 2019 edition of the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.The new research shows that Britain had 5,780 managed restaurants in December 2018—27.3% or 1,241 more than just five years ago. But managed restaurants now appear to have peaked, with numbers slipping by 0.1% from December 2017. The bulk of this decline is attributable to casual dining brands. The news follows rising concerns about over-capacity in the restaurant sector, as well as mounting pressures on property, people and food costs and Brexit-related dents to business confidence....READ MORE
  2. Restaurant numbers drop again as consumer tastes shift (August 19, 2019)
    Britain’s restaurant numbers have fallen for the sixth quarter in a row, the new edition of the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners reveals. Independent operators have borne the brunt of the closures with group-owned restaurants proving more resilient despite some major brand failures.The quarterly survey of the country’s supply of licensed premises reports a 3.4% drop in restaurant numbers in the 12 months to June 2019—an average of around 18 net closures a week. For group-owned restaurants, defined as businesses with more than one site, the reduction in numbers was smaller at 1.2%—reflecting the fact that some groups, especially small to medium-sized operations, continue to open new sites....READ MORE
  3. Consumers prompt growth in Thai cuisine, Chinese and Spanish lose favour (March 26, 2019)
    Britain’s high streets have seen numbers of Thai, American, Mexican and Japanese managed restaurants soar over the past five years, while Chinese and Spanish restaurants appear to be on the decline.According to research for the February 2019 Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners, the quarterly review of licensed premises in Britain, Thai managed restaurants have more than doubled in the five years to December 2018—leaping 123% from 66 to 147 following the rise of brands such as Giggling Squid and Rosa’s, as well as smaller operators....READ MORE
  4. Restaurant closures accelerating as high street pressures mount (May 21, 2019)
    The number of restaurants in Britain fell by 2.8% in the year to March 2019, the May 2019 edition of the Market Growth Monitor reveals—with high streets in the south of England, excluding London, hit especially hard by closures.The figure equates to net closures of 768 restaurants over 12 months, or around 15 a week. It marks a fifth successive quarter of decline in the sector, bringing to an end a boom period that saw restaurants grow in number by more than 15% between 2013 and 2018....READ MORE
  5. CGA reveals a healthy appetite for ‘No & Low’ alcohol drinks (January 29, 2019)
    With New Years’ resolutions beginning to creak, CGA takes a look at the effect of health and well-being trends to the on trade and how consumer drinks choices are being impacted at a time when the demand for healthy options has never been higher.Indeed, over six in ten (61%) of the GB adult population now consider themselves as proactively trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which has an undoubted impact in choices in the out of home market....READ MORE
  6. 10 things we learned at CGA's Insight 2019 (April 5, 2019)
    1. Brands need to think hyper-local

    Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for food and retail, gave the conference an overview of turbulence in the eating and drinking out market over the last year—including retrenchment in managed restaurants and huge churn in city centres. Uncertainty makes it more vital than ever to have both a deep understanding of consumers at a local level—something CGA’s consumer segmentation tools can help with—and an awareness of which high streets are failing and which are regenerating. “It’s really important to workout what makes a vibrant town… you need a hyper-local understanding....READ MORE

  7. Brits get a taste for cocktails with Pornstar Martini the number one tipple says CGA (June 14, 2019)
    Nine million consumers are enjoying cocktails when they go out, making this one of Britain’s fastest growing drinks categories within spirits, according to exclusive new research by out of home food and drink expert CGA.The popularity of cocktails, and the fact they are more widely available, has helped boost sales through Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants by 10% over the past 12 months taking the market value to £587m, says CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report Q1 2019....READ MORE
  8. CGA reveals shortlists for 2019 Hero & Icon Awards (November 6, 2019)
    CGA has unveiled the shortlists for its 2019 Peach Hero & Icon Awards, honouring dozens of outstanding operators across the out-of-home eating and drinking markets. The trophies will be presented at a special celebratory dinner to follow this year’s CGA Peach 2020 Conference at The Brewery in London on Wednesday 20 November.The invitation-only conference and awards dinner is the industry’s top networking event, and will be attended by around 300 company directors, owners, operators and investors. Together, the shortlists present a who’s who of operators from entrepreneurs to big corporates who are setting the standards for others to follow in this highly competitive, but still vibrant, industry....READ MORE
  9. Nine big trends in casual dining (June 28, 2019)
    After years of new openings, casual dining has been under the spotlight for closures in 2019. But where does the sector really stand now? CGA’s Business Unit Director for Food and Retail Karl Chessell shared the most important trends and developments at the Future of Finance conference—and here are some of the key messages.1. Eating out frequency is holding up

    People aren’t rushing out to eat more often in 2019—but neither are they staying in. CGA’s BrandTrack survey in April 2019 found that exactly half (50%) of consumers eat out at least weekly—up slightly on the figure from 12 months earlier (47%). “The demand is still there,” said Karl Chessell at Future of Finance....READ MORE

  10. Coffer Peach Business Tracker reaches milestone of 50 industry partners (February 14, 2019)
    CGA's Coffer Peach Business Tracker has strengthened its position as the definitive sales barometer for the UK’s leading managed pub, bar and restaurant groups with the addition of its 50th partner.The Tracker was launched in 2009 with the participation of just a dozen major pub and restaurant groups. With the addition of the 50th participating company to its data pool, it now boasts coverage of over 8,500 sites with combined annual sales of £9.54bn – or 47% of the sector....READ MORE
     

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