London Restaurant Closures at Highest Level in Decades

The London restaurant scene has suffered its worst year for closures in decades as a rapid expansion turned to bust, the Financial Times reported. About 117 independent restaurants closed in London in the 12 months to September 2018, 40 per cent more than last year and surpassing 2003’s peak of 113, according to Harden’s London Restaurants guide. “There are just too many restaurants out there,” said Peter Harden, who has compiled the guide, now in its 28th year. Prominent among the closures was the Gay Hussar, a Hungarian restaurant in Soho that was a favourite haunt of leftwing politicians and union leaders. The statistics provide evidence of the strains in the restaurant industry, which has been battered by overcapacity and rising costs. The number of restaurant insolvencies in the first three quarters of this year in England and Wales was greater than in all of last year, according to the Insolvency Service. The wave of London closures follows what Mr Harden described as “peak restaurant” in 2015 and 2016, when more than three opened for every one that shut. Read more