The number of restaurant businesses declared insolvent last year increased by 20 per cent, according to a report published today.

Increased pressure on the high street, led by weakness in the pound and a higher minimum wage, led to the insolvency of 984 restaurant businesses in 2017, up from 825 the previous year, said Moore Stephens.

Last month Jamie Oliver’s Glasgow restaurant was saved from closure, but the celebrity chef did announce plans to close 12 restaurants as part of a restructuring. Burger chain Byron last month also signed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors and could close up to 20 restaurants.

The accountancy firm said that the last ten years has seen an unprecedented level of rollouts of new restaurant chains. These openings, often within a short space of time and on the same street, have dramatically increased competitiveness on the high street.

Moore Stephens said the figures also underlined just how much pressure restaurants are under in the wake of increasing staff costs due to rising minimum wage and the apprenticeship levy.

The rising cost of imported produce caused by a falling pound has also hit the profitability of restaurants.

Jeremy Willmont, head of restructuring at Moore Stephens, says: “Pressure on the restaurant sector is now hitting even the biggest names on the high street. The jump in insolvencies over the last year demonstrates just how tough the current economic conditions are for the restaurant trade.

Independent operators have also run in trouble and there have been a number of notable closures in Scotland’s major cities in the past year. In January, Epoch in Glasgow’s Princes Square closed after less than one year trading, while Meat House in Dundee also closed.