The Manchester food scene - keeping lawyers hungry

Sophie Gwilliam, Recruitment Consultant03 December 2018

Manchester has always had an appetite for offering the very best hospitality.  From dining to dancing, sporting events to luxury hotels, there’s plenty on offer for those visiting as much as living and/or working in the city.  The food scene especially is one that’s seen significant success in recent years. 
Our legal recruitment consultant Sophie looks closely at the rise and fall of some of Manchester’s best eating spots and how the industry is helping keep commercial law healthy in the region.

Putting Manchester on the map
The Manchester restaurant and bar scene has expanded and diversified considerably over the last few years.  With over 300 restaurants, the city continues to outperform the rest of the UK in terms of growth.  While across the country the number of new restaurants opening is falling, in Manchester and the North West region as whole, the number of new restaurants and eateries continue to increase.  Yes, there have been victims at the casual dining end, which has led to the loss of mid-market chains such as Carluccios and Gaucho, with some fine dining restaurants feeling the pressure too.  But overall, there’s a healthy commercial outlook across the whole city, which brings plenty of positivity when it comes to the restaurant industry too.

Big names come, big names go
Last month was quite turbulent for the region’s restaurant scene with the loss of big names in the city such as Manchester House, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Artisan, The Rabbit in the Moon and a few more to mention. But while doors close, new ones open and there’s plenty of excitement with the addition of The Ivy in Spinningfields and Dishoom on Bridge Street with its first-class Bombay comfort food.  The rumours were also confirmed recently that renowned chef Aiden Byrne is reopening Manchester House following a deal with private investors.  These national food brands backed by multi-million pounds of investment and huge recruitment teams are hard for smaller, local independent restaurants to compete with. But, it’s the blend of different eateries from the large to small, decadent to eclectic that puts a city like Manchester to the top of the menu.

Cost pressures are a burden
Thriving eateries are important to the success of the city as commercial property transactions continue, employment is sustained and of course more people visit and frequent Manchester for drinking and dining.  But times are tough. From a consumer perspective, more people are tightening the purse strings thanks to Brexit uncertainty and inflation, and therefore cutting down how often they eat out.  Restaurants are feeling the brunt of this as much as they are the need to absorb cost increases of their own. The increase in the National Living Wage, the loss of skilled chefs since Brexit and ever-increasing business rates make trading conditions challenging to say the least. 

Transactional work prevails
Whether it’s boom or bust for restaurants in the city, the demand for transactional lawyers continues to grow with the influx of work. New leases, property management, licensing issues and commercial property transactions are keeping our lawyers busier than ever.  We see the same on the flip side with insolvencies, business closures and staff redundancies.  There is a growing demand for lawyers across the hospitality sector as much as there is for lawyers specialising in banking, construction and corporate areas.  Law firms are hiring, teams are growing, and we’ve even seen new teams emerge thanks to the healthy supply of work to be had. 

We all love a good place to eat
The knock-on effect of the positive development across Manchester is good for all trades.  Most businesses make good use of the bars and restaurants in the local vicinity whether to entertain clients, hold private meetings or celebrate with employees.  Here at Interlink Recruitment, we love being so close to so many wonderful places where we can eat, relax and unwind after work.  As the city’s culinary creators continue to inspire, bringing us sumptuous surroundings and delectable menus, the future certainly looks tasty on the Manchester food scene.  

With a background in the hospitality industry herself, Sophie today helps transactional corporate lawyers find new roles across the North West, including Manchester and Liverpool.  You can talk through your current circumstances in confidence with her on 0161 827 4377 or drop her an email,  

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