UK Chain Restaurants Announce Growth

Restaurant chains in the UK have reported an increase in annual turnover in 2011, from that in 2010, reports Technomic, a UK based company offering all-inclusive information and analysis on the food industry.

Around 100 restaurant chains in the UK have reported a 5.6 percent increase in annual turnover, compared to a 2.6 percent increase in the same period last year. UK outlets of the restaurant chains have grown by 4.9 percent to 17,593 in 2011, compared to an increase of 3.9 percent in the previous year.

The limited-service restaurants have reported that the biggest increase in the food categories were in burger bars (GBP2.3 billion), coffee shops (GBP1.5 billion) and chicken outlets (GBP1.1 billion). The US based McDonald’s has generated the maximum turnover of GBP1.9 billion in 2011, followed by Wetherspoons with GBP1 billion, and Greggs with GBP707.6 million.

Darren Tristano, the managing director of Technomic, said, ‘It is certainly encouraging to see overall industry growth rates more than double in one year. On a chain-by-chain basis, however, performance varied substantially, reflecting the fact that many organisations are still redefining their value propositions for today’s economy and tackling various industry challenges.’

The top ten restaurant chains in the UK, according to their annual turnover are McDonald’s; Wetherspoon; Greggs; KFC; Costa Coffee; Starbucks; Pizza Hut; Domino’s Pizza; Subway and Nando’s. These restaurant chains together reported annual turnover of GBP7.3 billion, or 52.3 percent of the total turnover for the top 100 restaurant chains in UK.

The fastest growing full-service restaurant chains in the UK include Busaba Eathai, Jamie’s Italian, and Cote Restaurants.


TripAdvisor Survey Reflects Economic Optimism of UK Hotel Owners

UK Hotel operations are among the most profitable in Europe, and hotel companies are feeling optimistic regarding the industry’s buoyancy, according to TripAdvisor, a company that provides an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information.

The latest update of the TripAdvisor Industry Index survey has revealed that economic optimism is prevalent in the UK hospitality industry, with 27 percent of around 2,500 respondents from the UK prepared to state their faith in economic growth. This can be compared to the TripAdvisor Industry Index survey statistics released in December 2011, when only around 19 percent of the respondents had stated their belief in an economic upswing.

With 79 percent of respondents having described their current operations as beneficial or very profitable in the last six months, this makes the UK hotel industry the third most profitable hospitality industry in Europe, with only Turkey and Germany outperforming it.

When asked if Britain’s time on the world stage this summer, would have any lasting effect on business, with London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games following on the heels of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, over half of respondents (58 percent) stated it would have no effect. A third of respondents (35 percent) were more positive, saying there would be either a short-term or long-term improved effect.

Even if the 2012 London games fail to have a positive impact on the UK hotel industry, the Eurozone crisis is likely to have a more serious impact, as around 87 percent of respondents expect the crisis to impact on their bottom lines in next six months.


Parents Shell Out GBP2,474 to Keep Children Entertained during Summer

With the UK schools closed for summer, British parents may have to shell out around GBP2,474 on childcare and entertainment this summer to keep their children occupied.

A survey of 5,000 British parents shows that summer breaks are often a cause of worry for working parents, as they have to allow for the additional expense of having children at home when both parents are working, or for the cost of keeping them entertained during bad weather.

Worried parents are likely to spend, an average of GBP351 on childcare, GBP504 on day outings, and GBP665 on supplementary transportation and food, as they struggle to keep children busy in summer camps, on entertainment programmes, and holidaying with the family.

Around 17 percent of parents with children below 18 years of age have opted not to take a vacation this summer, while 53 percent of parents surveyed are likely to restrict their vacation to the UK.

Travelodge, a UK based company operating a chain of budget hotels, has reported an increase in ‘staycations’, the buzzword for Brits holidaying in the UK, according to its reservation data.

Travelodge spokesperson, Shakila Ahmed, said, ‘We’re calling it ‘hotel hopping’. We have seen a significant rise this year of people visiting two or three destinations in a week rather than staying at just one. Families might stop off at Eastbourne, Brighton and Bognor Regis exploring the Sussex coast, for example.

Resourceful Britons are making one holiday feel like more, which is a great way of keeping the children entertained during the holidays.

Parents told us that entertaining children on rainy days is GBP53 more expensive than on dry days. More rain could really put the Wellington boot into already cash-strapped parent’s budgets.’


Virtuoso Life Magazine Announces Travel Dreams Poll Results

Virtuoso, a US-based luxury travel network, has announced the results of its sixth annual Travel Dreams survey, which it recently conducted.

The poll was carried out to ascertain the latest dreams of modern day travellers, with responses given by the readers of travel magazine, Virtuoso Life.

The survey highlighted that the favourite travel dreams involve adventures on the seas, including going on a world cruise, calling on all seven continents, and sailing around the Mediterranean on a private yacht.

When it came to making the trip of a lifetime, the most favoured dream was a visit to the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean that is located close to the equator. The islands are famous for their habitat, and for a number of endemic species, which include tortoises and marine iguanas.

The survey also reported that Australia remains a favourite with tourists, and tops the list of Dream Destination criteria, followed by New Zealand, South Africa and French Polynesia. Australia also remains on the list as a Top Family Getaway, while Sydney, the Australian capital, heads the list for ‘Go-To Style and Design Capital’.

Elaine Srnka, the editorial director for Virtuoso Life, said, ‘Virtuoso travellers continue to blaze new trails, setting the standard for how and where those in-the-know will venture next. The ‘Travel Dreams’ results show us the destinations and products that are likely to be the most popular in the year ahead, allowing us to focus our editorial in a way that our readers will find more compelling.’


Travellers Enjoy Vacations even As Global Economies Slide

While most economies of the world are struggling to make headway against the gloom of recession, miraculously the travel industry appears to be on an upward trend, as global budgets for vacations continue to increase.

A survey, sponsored by the Wyndham Hotel Group, has recently polled around 5,600 adults residing in cities of the US, Brazil, Canada, China, and the UK. According to the survey, 70 percent of the respondents intend to spend a similar budget or more on vacationing in 2012, compared to their budget in 2011, with 35 percent intending to spend more than last year.

Around 66 percent of Chinese travellers and 52 percent of US travellers intend to travel on longer holidays this year, compared to last year, while 37 percent of US travellers, 36 percent of travellers from Canada, and 42 percent of Chinese travellers are planning a vacation with more expensive entertainment and excursion options.

The report also suggested that around 34 percent of travellers claimed to be members of hotel loyalty programmes, with 50 percent of Chinese travellers, 40 percent of US travellers, and 20 percent of UK travellers belonging to at least one hotel loyalty programme. Of the hotel loyalty programme members, around 62 percent claimed that their travel decisions are influenced by their loyalty programme memberships.

Visitors showed a preference for visits to theme parks, with around 43 percent of travellers voting for the parks, while 40 percent voted for shopping destinations, and 37 percent voted for adventure trips, such as mountain climbing and skiing.

Of the travellers that are looking to lower their travel expenditure this year, around 24 percent of them intend to give up their holiday entirely, while others want to cut down on dining out or going out with friends, instead of giving up their holidays completely.