In a year marked by the cost of living crisis and escalating business rates, hospitality vendors in the North have demonstrated growth and resilience over the past year, averaging 7.2% sales growth.

New research conducted by Northern Restaurant & Bar in partnership with CGA by NielsenIQ reveals all northern England cities saw a growth in sales in managed pubs, bars and restaurants, with an average of 7.2% growth. Newcastle (12.7%) and York (9.2%) lead the uptrend, followed by Sheffield (7.1%), Liverpool (6.8%), Chester (5.6%), Manchester (4.8%), and Leeds (4.4%).

Despite a 2.5% decline in total venue numbers across the British pub, bar, and restaurant sector in the latest year to October, the industry remains dynamic, witnessing an average of 48 new openings per week. This ongoing activity signals a significant level of renewal. Business leaders are also generally optimistic about the prospects of their own business in the next 12 months. This sentiment is stronger in the north, where 59% of leaders expressed confidence in the sector, compared to 51% in the south.

Notably, northern cities such as Liverpool (-0.8%), Newcastle (-1.2%), and Chester (-1.0%) have proven more resilient than London (-2.2%) and the national average, in terms of the number of outlets. With over a quarter (26%) of new openings in the North, this resilience is particularly noteworthy against a backdrop of rising energy prices, food and drink inflation, and increased National Living Wages.

Consumer sentiment across the country is also positive, with 4 in 5 stating that they are satisfied with the quality of the overall experience during recent visits to pubs, bars and restaurants. A higher percentage of customers in the north are ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of food, service, drinks and overall experience, than the south. This is a likely contributing factor to the ongoing resilience in the North – a content and satisfied customer base.

The research also found how experience-led concepts are well positioned to thrive in the next 12 months. Northern businesses like Mission Mars, Roxy Leisure and Graffiti Spirits Group are not only shaping a dynamic hospitality landscape in the north but also rapidly expanding to other regions. Their success underscores a broader trend within the industry, where unique and immersive experiences are becoming key drivers of customer engagement and business expansion.

Siobhan Thompson, Event Manager for NRB24, commented: “The results underscore the strength, resilience, and ambition of Northern hospitality establishments. Despite shared challenges in the sector, operators in cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Newcastle have demonstrated innovation and optimism in the face of issues such as rising utility prices, food inflation, and staffing concerns. While challenges persist, it’s heartening to witness the industry’s adaptability and positivity. The surge in new concepts, site launches, and the enthusiastic influx of customers through the doors offer a much-needed burst of positivity,”

“NRB plays a crucial role as the first opportunity of the year for the industry to unite, offering support and a platform to celebrate Northern hospitality. It serves as an invaluable space for forward-thinking operators to share stories, exchange advice, and connect with suppliers, fostering innovation and inspiration. With brilliant operators, hopefully fuelled by ideas and inspiration from NRB, I know Northern hospitality can continue to thrive.”

Northern Restaurant & Bar, the first major hospitality event of the year, returns to Manchester Central on  12th-13th March 2024. An unmissable date in the diary for everyone in the northern hospitality industry, NRB24 will bring together over 8,500 visitors and 300+ exhibitors for two days of business, networking, and education.


For more information on NRB and to secure tickets, visit


Written by

Zeus International Hotels and Resorts Expands its European Presence with Significant Acquisitions in Italy and Greece

École Ducasse Paris Studio unveils its new 2024 courses: A unique culinary immersion