Cafe Andaluz, Jollibee and Scream For Pizza – the new businesses that have opened in pandemic Newcastle are ‘bouncing back’


Newcastle is among the northern cities leading UK hospitality to ‘rebound’ from Covid, as it welcomes a number of new restaurants, bars and food chains.

Over the past two years, hospitality businesses across the country have taken a beating after being hit by the effects of pandemic closures and restrictions. But despite these unprecedented challenges, Newcastle has been named as one of the cities with the biggest increase in new hotel openings, according to data from CGA, the industry’s leading food and drink data company. .

The results, compiled by northern hospitality trade show Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB), revealed that Newcastle saw growth of 2.3% in new restaurants, bars and pubs between September 2021 and December 2021 – ranking fifth for growth in the UK. A number of top restaurants and food chains opened in Newcastle city center during this period last year, including tapas bar Cafe Andaluz which opened on Gray Street in October, Scream For Pizza which launched a ‘take-out’ unit on the Quayside in September and Rio Steakhouse which also opened on the Quayside in November.

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And few could forget the huge queues outside fried chicken chain Flipino Jollibee when it opened on Northumberland Street in November.

New Gray Street restaurants, Indian restaurant Ayla and popular sushi restaurant Sushi Me Rollin, were also among those that opened late last year. And the city will continue to welcome new restaurants this year, including The Real Greek, which is due to open in Eldon Square this month.

Joyful scenes as customers queue outside the new Jollibee restaurant in Newcastle ahead of its official opening on November 4, 2021.

The data also shows that hotel growth in Newcastle has far outpaced the opening of new businesses in the capital, with London recording growth of 1.6% over the same period. Liverpool topped the list of 14 UK cities surveyed, with a huge 4.4% net increase in hospitality venues over the last three months of 2021. Leeds came second with 3.9%, Edinburgh third with 3.3% and Manchester fourth with growth of 2.5%.

Thom Hetherington, CEO of NRB, said the results reflected the strength and resilience of operators and the public in northern cities.

“Operators in cities like [Newcastle], Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds have suffered like the entire hospitality industry, with huge issues relating to lockdown costs, loss of business and loss of staff. So while this initial turnaround may be small, the direction of travel is a vital and encouraging shift.

“It provides a much-needed shot of positivity to see so many new concepts, venues and launches, and to see happy drinkers and diners flooding the door.”

Karl Chessell, director of hotel and restaurant operators at CGA, said hospitality businesses were playing a “critical role” in the economic recovery of cities like Newcastle. It is very encouraging to see some of our key cities revitalized with new investments and openings after an incredibly difficult time during the pandemic,” he said.

“The recovery is fragile but there are green shoots of recovery and especially in some large cities in the North. The role of hospitality is essential in the economic recovery and the social recovery of these dynamic cities.”

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