Savills said 30 new restaurant multiple brands have opened in Manchester since the city last hosted the BCSC conference in 2011. The British Council of Shopping Centres annual conference and exhibition opens today at Manchester Central, with 2,500 delegates registered to attend.
Manchester now has 140 restaurant units, with 22% of these occupied by new entrants including Hawksmoor, Burger & Lobster and Spanish restaurant operator Iberica.
Increased demand for restaurant space has pushed top rents in prime flagship locations to £40-£50/sq ft in Q3 2015 compared to £30-£40/sq ft in Q4 2011, according to Savills. For smaller strategic sites, rents in excess of £60/sq ft are now achievable.
John Agnew, retail director at Savills, said: “There’s no doubt that Manchester loves to eat out and big brands such as Cote and Handmade Burger Co have been keen to take a bite of the market. Around one third of all new retail and leisure entrants in the city over the last four years have been restaurant brands, many of which did not have a presence outside of London last time we hosted BCSC.”
Savills said Deansgate, Corn Exchange, Spinningfields and King Street are among the most attractive locations for major restaurant operators, while independents continue to favour the Northern Quarter. Improvements to other city centre zones such as Peter Street, Oxford Road and Piccadilly Gardens have resulted in some players taking multiple units in the city centre, such as Byron which now has restaurants in Deansgate, Piccadilly Gardens and Corn Exchange.
Upon completion later this year, the redeveloped Corn Exchange, by Aviva Investors and Queensberry Real Estate, will be home to a hotel and 13 restaurant brands, eight of which are new to Manchester including Pho and Wahaca.
Tom Whittington, retail research director at Savills, adds: “Manchester’s restaurant offer is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, with international entrants and street food offers gaining significant traction. We classify around a third of the recent influx of restaurants as aspirational rather than mass market. These changes indicate that the city’s casual diners are developing more sophisticated eating habits and are also willing to increase their spend per transaction.”