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What were the restaurants that didn't make it to 2020?

PUBLISHED: 12:35 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:08 04 January 2020

The Library restaurant, Guildhall Hill, Norwich, which closed in 2019. Pic: Archant

The Library restaurant, Guildhall Hill, Norwich, which closed in 2019. Pic: Archant

More than 11,000 people working in restaurants lost their jobs last year amid another swathe of closures including big players like Jamie's Italian.

Jamie Oliver at the launch of his restaurant in Norwich's Royal Arcade, one of the biggest restaurant failures of 2019. Pic: ArchantJamie Oliver at the launch of his restaurant in Norwich's Royal Arcade, one of the biggest restaurant failures of 2019. Pic: Archant

Figures compiled by Norwich's Centre for Retail Research reveal there were 11,280 job losses nationwide in the casual dining sector in 2019 - up 8% on the previous year.

Employment across the sector was hit hard as a raft of well-known names suffered another torrid year, with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire the biggest casualty after it collapsed in May with the loss of 1,000 jobs. The restaurant in Norwich's Royal Arcade was among the casualties.

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Giraffe, Chapelfield, which closed in 2019. Pic: ArchantGiraffe, Chapelfield, which closed in 2019. Pic: Archant

There were also a host of other high-profile eateries forced to shut sites or seek rescue deals as they battled another year of stagnating sales, overcapacity and rising costs.

Those included chain diner Giraffe which closed a third of its outlets, including in Chapelfield, Norwich, Loch Fyne, St Giles Street and Veeno, Castle Quarter. Even the independents weren't safe with the shock announcement by restaurant owners Jayne and Nigel Raffles that they were closing The Library, Guildhall Hill after 13 years because the sale of the business fell through. Norwich also lost authentic Spanish restaurant Don Pepe, St Benedicts, after 32 years because its owners retired. However, a new bistro Don Txoko quickly started up in its place.

National data shows another 922 restaurants were shut in 2019, which comes after 1,188 closed the previous year.

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Despite recent closures, restaurant numbers are still up by 16% compared with 2010.

The Centre for Retail Research data showed in fact, independent eateries suffered the most in 2019 with 585 independent restaurants shut in 2019, while 337 chain-operated eateries were axed. This compares with 622 chain-owned sites closing in 2018.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, a director at the Centre for Retail Research, Rose Lane, said: "The main problems in 2020 are likely to be found amongst the independents, who often lack the resources to reinvest or change their business model."

However, small independent restaurants in England will be given a helping hand this year - as those with a rateable property value of less than £51,000 will see their business rates bills slashed in half on April 1 thanks to the government's move to increase the retail discount from 33%. This will save on average, £10,624 in tax during 2020/21.

Jayne Raffles at the Library restaurant, Guildhall Hill, which closed in 2019. Pic: ArchantJayne Raffles at the Library restaurant, Guildhall Hill, which closed in 2019. Pic: Archant

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