The Ivy Manchester

Manchester has seen the largest increase in the number of restaurant and bar openings in comparison to other major cities in the UK, according to new research.

The research which has been conducted by CGA, the industry-leading food and drink analytics company, examines the opening and closure rate of the restaurant and bar scene in the UK’s major cities.

The results show that the highest increase of openings is in the north. Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds have seen an increase of restaurant and bar openings by an average of 19%.

Manchester has the largest increase of 22% – more than three times that in London.

Thom Hetherington, CEO of Northern Restaurant & Bar 2019, the north’s hospitality trade exhibition, said the findings reflected the ambition and confidence of the region.

“Obviously we’re based up here, so we’ve seen the development first hand, but it’s been clear that the epicentre of the northern food and drink scene has kicked on at an unprecedented rate of knots, with a direction and velocity of travel which has left other regions trailing in its wake,”  he says.

“It’s no surprise to see Manchester take the ‘medal position’ with an extraordinary rate of growth; the ‘M62 corridor’ is developing its own centre of gravity, pulling in new residents, businesses and tourists drawn to its unrivalled combination of culture, lifestyle and opportunity.”

The data from CGA shows that over the last five years the major northern cities, centred around the M62 motorway, are continuing to outpace London, Edinburgh and other core cities when it comes to the expansion of their food and drink scenes.

Manchester topped the list with a 22.3% net increase in the number of city centre food and drink venues between 2013 and 2018, with Liverpool close behind on 18.1%, and Leeds on 17.0% growth.

London trailed in eighth out of the twelve cities included in the study.

Indeed, although three northern cities – Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool – lead the way on the restaurant and bar scene, the results for London are quite the contrary. The city has seen a significantly lower growth rate of just 6.8%.

In addition to the low growth rate, the research has revealed more bad news for the UK’s capital. London has seen the second highest increase in restaurant and bar closures of 14%.

“Everyone knows running restaurants or bars can be a tough business, particularly in the current climate, but I was impressed to see the resilience of the Northern food and drink sector,” says Thom.

“I’m not surprised by the recent struggles in the capital, costs and risks can be astronomical for prime sites, and in my opinion that is part of the reason we are seeing more interesting, successful operators choice to stay in, or move to, the north.”

Manchester’s most notable 2018 restaurant and bar openings included Tast Catala, which brought a taste of Catalonia to the city with a menu created by five-Michelin-star Chef Paco Pérez, and authentic Italian pasta kitchen Sugo, which opened its doors in Ancoats after success in Altrincham – one of many notable new openings in Ancoats.

2018 also saw Aiden Byrne open Restaurant MCR; the opening of Simon Martin’s gastronomic game-changer Mana in Ancoats; Dishoom, which opened in Manchester Hall; and The Ivy, the UK’s biggest restaurant opening of 2018 with 530 covers.

Northern Restaurant & Bar comes to Manchester Central on 19th-20th March, with free tickets for those in the industry.

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