The statistics are pointing to another prosperous year for the leisure and hospitality sector in 2016

Last year saw the highest ever rate of new restaurant openings in London, according to Harden’s Guides. Meanwhile, the UK restaurant market is predicted to reach £52 billion by 2017, suggests a forecast by market intelligence firm Allegra Foodservice.

Here at Enterprise Investment Partners, with our Imbiba Leisure EIS Fund and Ceru Restaurants investment opportunities in mind, that makes for very good reading indeed.

We’re not the only ones harbouring optimism for the year ahead. Harden’s co-found Peter Harden is also anticipating big things for the next 12 months. He said: “The growth of Londonʼs restaurant scene is jaw-dropping in comparison to its recent past, never mind the ʻDark Agesʼ in which we founded our guide 25 years ago. It is wonderful to be celebrating the guideʼs silver anniversary in what is a golden age for restaurant-goers.”

It’s not just the capital that is enjoying something of a golden period – the entire UK restaurant landscape is “undergoing a period of significant change,” says Allegra Foodservice director Steve Gotham. He believes the industry has social media, blogs and review sites to thank for making food “trendy” again with consumers wanting to “follow the foodie buzz”.

However, with British consumers spending more money on leisurely nights out, something has to give

Global retail research agency Conlumino suggests the retail sector is having to make way for the bar and restaurant surge – a trend that is “being exacerbated by an ageing population,” according to Maureen Hinon, retail analyst at Conlumino.

We’d suggest that the consumer shift also has something to do with the emerging concept of ‘buying experience, not things’. An idea that is no doubt helped by studies which suggest that people who live by such a maxim will lead a happier life.

To find out how you can participate in this burgeoning sector, please head over to our Open Investments page.

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