Las Iguanas’ expansion banks on UK’s renewed confidence in dining out, says GlobalData

Following today’s news that Big Table Group plans to open 50 more Las Iguanas restaurants across the UK;

Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“While it may seem like a challenging time to invest in new restaurants, Big Table Group’s decision to expand Las Iguanas to the UK will take it in a strong direction going forward. South American cuisine is still relatively new in the UK and offers the company a strong point of differentiation compared to other cuisines – such as the oversaturated Italian space. It will also grab the interest of younger customers, as, according to GlobalData, 26%* of Brits agree that food and drink from other cultures is very appealing – with this rising to nearly a third (31%) for millennials and Gen Zs.

“Fears around eating out due to COVID-19 risk are also waning, with the share of the UK population that is extremely concerned about this falling to 16%** as of September, compared to 22%*** in March this year. This shows a promising return to footfall as the high vaccination rollout provides some much-needed consumer confidence.

“That said, inflation rates may put a dampener on Big Table’s plans. As a mid-priced chain, consumers expect affordability and high quality. If the inflation pressures continue, it is likely that we will see price rises across the board, seeing a return to the home cooking trends that were so popular during lockdowns. Las Iguanas uses ingredients and recipes that are uncommon to the UK and the company will need to leverage its unique position to encourage people to splash out.”

Data is taken from GlobalData’s Consumer Surveys: *Q2-2021 (March 2021), **Q1-2021 (June 2021), and ***Q3-2021 (September 2021)

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