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Fewer People Are Eating Out While More Restaurants Open

Plus more news from London’s restaurant scene today

Successful London restaurant chain Rosa’s Thai looks to expand its restaurant outside the capital
Rosa’s Spitalfields
Rosa's official

With an 8% reduction in consumer spending on going out for dinner, market pressure continues

Deloitte’s Leisure Consumer report, released yesterday, shows an 8 per cent reduction in eating out for the period July-September in comparison to a year ago. The quarterly survey showed that figure is even more substantial among 18-34 year olds, who reported a 16% decrease in spending on third-quarter eating out year-on-year. In a report from The Caterer, Simon Oaten — partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte — blamed the combination of rising inflation and minimal real wage growth: “(it) is likely that bars, restaurants and cafes will be feeling the effects of consumers’ self-imposed austerity measures”. Add that to the list of woes and doomsday predictions, then.

Another chain MD steps down ...

Frankie & Benny's MD Spencer Ayers has stepped down, according to a report from MCA. Following group-wide sales figures dropping earlier in the year, along with multiple restaurant closures and the departure of Jason Green from Chiquito in June, The Restaurant Group continue to build (or raze to the ground) a “leaner organisation”. Ayers is the latest in a slew of resignations in the market, with VPs from Chimichanga, Jamie’s and Byron all leaving their posts in recent times. Whether Ayers is refocussing or moving altogether remains to be seen: what is clear is that chains are restructuring more ruthlessly than ever before.

... While Rosa’s Thai bucks the trend

Rosa’s Thai reported a 9 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the first half of the current financial year, in more news from MCA. The success of the Thai café mini-chain, which has 11 sites across London, again demonstrates the resilience of the smaller, independent “chain” model in otherwise uncertain times.

Zizzi doubles down on its vegan offerings as sales soar

Zizzi, the Italian restaurant chain, has reported a 246 per cent increase in sales of items from its vegan menu since this time last year. As reported by Big Hospitality, the brand has sold some 165,000 dairy, egg, and meat free meals since summer 2017. The chain, which claims to be the first on the high-street to introduce a completely vegan menu, has been conscientious in its effort to cater to a broader range of dietary requirements.

Meanwhile, a ‘modern Australian restaurant’ comes to Stoke Newington ...

The concept for Wander, which opens in November, grew from chef and proprietor Alexis Noble’s “love of food, travel, Spotify playlists, Spring Court sneakers, and Pantone 805c.” So far, so Stoke Newington — as reported by Hot Dinners.

Wander moves into the less-trendy, yet quickly developing Stoke Newington High Street which has seen local favourites like Wolf, Apollo Pizzeria, and Sutton and Sons joined more recently by outposts from Franco Manca and Harvest N16. Promising an ever-changing seasonal menu of dishes featuring a range of culinary influences — think beef tartare with pickled cucumelons, coriander stem, shiso & Sichuan pepper — Wander is Noble’s reprieve from years spent in male-dominated kitchens across Australia, the US and the UK. It’s “a restaurant that (allows) her and her friends to create, inspire and have fun, whilst listening to Kanye.”

... While Hodge Podge adds a “modern British” option to dining in Crouch Hill

In other new openings in the North, and also via Hot Dinners, Hodge Podge has just opened in the Stroud Green/North-of-Finsbury-Park/Crouch Hill neighbourhood that is currently home to the cult Max’s Sandwich Shop, Traiteur, and other gourmand-y spots like Clapton Craft’s N4 outpost.

While their website somewhat cryptically refers to “London Cuisine”, their Instagram features the cuisine-crossing genre of bistro food that is fast becoming the standard in London’s casual dining scene. Combinations like BBQ poussin with corn chowder, toasted corn and ‘nduja, or tomato and chestnut ravioli with apple and miso stock, watercress and chestnut pesto, and pickled radish suggest a playful approach to flavour from chef and owner Simon Hodge.


Lancaster Place, , England WC2R 1LA 020 3011 0115 Visit Website

Franco Manca

20 The Broadway, , England SW19 1RE 020 8947 4368 Visit Website