NEW openings in Glasgow’s restaurant sector in 2018 were dominated by independent players, as opposed to national chains, analysis by Savills reveals.

The property consultancy calculated that 13 local restaurants had opened in Glasgow last year, while only four national operators had launched new outlets in the city.

Savills noted that independent operators accounted for more than 36,300 sq ft of new restaurant space in the city last year.

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It added that highlights included the unveiling of new premises on West George Street by Stack & Still, which describes itself as the UK’s largest urban pancake restaurant, as well as La Vita Spuntini’s opening on Gordon Street, and the launch of So L.A., a Californian-inspired restaurant and bar on Mitchell Street. The four national operators in the restaurant-bar sector to launch in the city in 2018 included Vapiano, Absurd Bird, and Revolution.

John Menzies, director in the retail team at Savills in Scotland, said: “Glasgow’s casual dining scene has changed dramatically over the last five years and today, if you walk around the city, you can find a mix of options catering for every appetite.

“Some streets in the city centre – such as St Vincent Street and Miller Street – are unrecognisable to how they looked a few years ago, such has been the influx of new restaurant brands.”

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He noted restaurant rents in Glasgow had fallen by around 10 per cent last year to a prime level of £35 to £40 per sq ft, having risen sharply between 2014 and 2017. He said this was “reflective of the turbulent year 2018 was for the restaurant market nationally”.

Mr Menzies added: “The arrival of a number of local operators launching in the city despite these wider headwinds is good news for Glasgow and a sign of the strength of the city’s leisure market.”

Savills flagged planned openings in Glasgow city centre this year by The Ivy, Benihana, Project Pizza, and Catch.

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