Who doesn’t enjoy eating out? But who would want to be a restauranteur these days? In the week that Jamie Oliver’s chain of restaurants, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group goes bust, we ask ‘is the restaurant sector in crisis’, and why this is the case…
Over the past year or so, several big-name brands have entered rescue schemes – including Prezzo, Carluccios and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The restaurant trade is suffering – 37 of Britain’s top 100 restaurants are loss-making. Why is this? As always, there are a number of contributing factors:
- Rents on property have shot up, particularly since 2015
- Business rates have gone up
- Other costs are increasing – such as food, utility and wage costs
The demand side has been hit too, with weak consumer confidence reducing spending, as well as an increasing interest in more imaginative and diverse foods.
With a local presence in Cambridge and Norwich, many of us will have eaten at one of Jamie’s restaurants, so why did the business fail? Experts have identified 5 things that went wrong with Jamie’s chain:
- It proved difficult to translate his personality into a chain of restaurants – personal branding isn’t enough to guarantee success
- The food offering wasn’t interesting enough
- Customer reviews pointed to a lack of quality in the food offering
- Instead of bringing in established, experienced management, he promoted his brother-in-law who had no experience of running a chain of restaurants
- Poor timing – as the factors identified above combined to put pressure on the business.
Too often, the larger restaurant chains are too slow to adapt to changing trends, and are left behind as more imaginative independents deliver new eating and dining experiences. The rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets is one indicator of changing consumer habits. Far from this signalling the end of eating out, perhaps it’s just offering more of an opportunity for independents?