The city now has 140 restaurant units, with 22 per cent of these occupied by new entrants including Hawksmoor, Burger & Lobster and Iberica.
Increased demand for restaurant space has pushed top rents in prime flagship locations to £40-£50 per sq ft in Q3 2015 compared to £30-£40 per sq ft in Q4 2011. For smaller strategic sites, rents in excess of £60 per 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 says 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 its completion later this year, the redeveloped Corn Exchange will be home to a boutique hotel and a further 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.”