Restaurants and casual dining businesses recorded almost 30,000 job losses during 2020 – a 163% rise on the year before.
New figures from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) showed that 29,684 jobs were cut by fine dining, independent businesses and large chains during last year – compared to 11,280 in 2019.
The large increase in job losses comes after firms were hit by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, curfews, changes to service rules and recently strengthened tiered measures.
Hundreds of restaurants and venues have shut their doors for good as firms have tumbled into administration and launched restructuring deals to keep them trading.
Among the big chains to have experienced significant difficulties during the year were Carluccio’s, Byron Burger, Casual Dining Group and Chiquito.
The CRR also said that branch closures by hospitality firms increased by 75.8% to 1,621 – compared with 922 in 2019.
It highlighted closure proposals and redundancy plans at companies such as Pizza Express, SSP Group, The Restaurant Group and Mitchells & Butlers during the year.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the CRR, said the pandemic accelerated a shake-up of the sector which was already taking place.
“The sector experienced rapid growth in outlets during 2014 to 2017 as successful chains added additional branches, but they frequently paid too much whilst maintaining quality standards proved difficult.
“The need to cut costs caused by over-expansion, increased competition and weak consumer demand produced a crisis in the industry before the pandemic.”