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Pubs & restaurants close at record rates in 2020

Over 150 London pubs, bars and restaurants closed permanently in 2020.

As the pandemic has led to huge impacts in the sector, the number of venues dropped from 3,460 venues to 3,303 – a 4.5% drop.

Closures over 2020 were approximately three times higher than closures in 2019. In addition to London, Birmingham and Leeds also saw a large number of closures in the sector with a drop of 8.5% and 5.6% respectively.

Across the whole of the UK, 10,000 pubs and restaurants closed in 2020.

Mark Lynch, Partner at corporate finance house, Oghma Partners, commented on the number of closures for pubs and restaurants in 2020: “This is sadly not the last time we will see this type of data for pubs, restaurants and casual dining as thousands more will close throughout 2021, impacting directly and indirectly on huge sections of the UK population. Lockdown restrictions have essentially frozen Food to Go and food service providers that are unable to service clients as per normal. Pubs, restaurants and food service manufacturers and, to a lesser extent, Food to Go capacity are disappearing from the market. However, we are seeing positive sales growth for direct to consumer and supermarket companies. Indeed, we have already seen a significant shift in consumer behaviour which has boosted growth for those companies in 2020 and could be set to increase as they acquire more market share.

“Unsurprisingly, both overall deal volume and value for 2020 are the lowest recorded since we began this review back in 2009. Despite all the market uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 and Brexit, the appetite from overseas and financial investors has remained relatively positive throughout 2020, accounting for 27.1% and 20.3% of total deal volume, respectively. In 2021 we expect distressed deals to be a continued feature of activity, but our expectation remains that it won’t be until Q2 2021 that we will see year on year increases in M&A activity,” he added.

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