Take-up in Glasgow’s food and beverage market sank 15% in 2019, in a year which saw independent restaurants drive the sector, according to new data from Savills.

George Square Glasgow

George Square Glasgow

George Square Glasgow

Take-up in the city hit 65,000 sq ft, down 15% from the year before. Yet the proportion of take-up by independent restaurant operators grew by 25%, tallying at 40,000 sq ft.

Among the new restaurants were pasta eaterie Sugo on Mitchell Street, Blythswood Square’s new modern brasserie Bo and Birdy, and Mexican bar and taqueuria Mezcal on Hope Street.

“For many independents, they have been priced out of premium rental locations and instead opted for quirky locations which are lower in rent, but still close enough to the centre to attract customers,” said John Menzies, director in the retail team at Savills in Glasgow.

“As a result, many of these businesses have demonstrated positive turnover growth which has, in turn, encouraged more independent businesses to open.”

Menzies added that he expected 2020 to be a busy year for the casual dining sector in Glasgow.

“Interesting national brands are expected to open in 2020, including Franco Manca, Mowgli, Pho and Wolf,” he said.

“With margins tightening in the face of rising operating costs, savvy occupiers are now looking for smaller units of 1,500 to 3,000 sq ft, often in quirky locations and in buildings with architectural character.”

Advised by Savills, UK pub businesses Mitchells & Butlers are also looking for sites in Scotland.