British restaurants feel the heat amid rising overheads, Brexit

Falling disposable incomes and the side-effects of Brexit have combined to cause havoc with Britain's restaurant industry.
Falling disposable incomes and the side-effects of Brexit have combined to cause havoc with Britain's restaurant industry.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sector hit by rising overheads, especially wages, and Brexit vote

A mere few decades ago, Britain was a country where you would struggle to find a decent restaurant, where street food meant a choice between greasy fish and chips wrapped in paper or a bland curry served in a plastic tub or, if one was truly adventurous about dining out, sticky spaghetti cooked by Italian immigrants from the 1960s, or soggy spring rolls with lukewarm egg-fried rice, the work of more recent migrants from China.

But Britain - and particularly London - experienced a true culinary revolution, and its multi-cultural aspect is truly dizzying, with an estimated 15,000 food outlets in the British capital alone, offering cuisines from all over the world. London's street food scene now leads Europe and is one of the best in the world at every "price point", as the advertising men like to call it, from the cheap, cheerful but healthy, and right up to the over 60 Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants in London alone.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'British restaurants feel the heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe