New data from the accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young showed that 1,406 restaurants in the UK closed their doors in the 12 months up to May, up 64 per cent as compared to the previous year, The Guardian reported.
In proportional terms, that is an even larger increase in closures than for the wider hospitality industry, which saw a 56 per cent rise in insolvencies over the same period.
It comes on top of a number of high-profile restaurant businesses, including Byron, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and the Italian chains Strada and Carluccio’s, being forced to shut dozens of sites at the height of the pandemic as they incurred heavy financial losses during repeated lockdowns and other Covid restrictions.
“Pressure is rising on the restaurant sector every day. More and more of them are shutting their doors as a result,” said Peter Kubik, a partner at UHY Hacker Young, The Guardian reported.
“Restaurants that only just managed to survive the pandemic, thanks to government support, are now facing fresh challenges in the form of rising inflation, a post-Brexit labour shortage and consumers who simply cannot afford to spend as much.”
Research published in June, by UHY, found that losses at the top 100 restaurant groups had risen to more than 800m in the previous six months after being forced to undergo major restructuring programmes during the pandemic, when they were forced to subsist on state support packages that included business rates holidays and furlough payments for staff.
Businesses across the UK have since been dealing with a slowdown in consumer spending, as the prices of everything from gas and electricity to food and clothes soar, The Guardian reported.