Competition is tough for restaurants in Huddersfield town centre.
That’s the view of Huddersfield chef and restaurateur Barrington Douglas, who runs Caribbean restaurant Discovery Bay.
Barrington says there are as many as 100 restaurants, cafes and takeaways in town all fighting for a share of the dining pound.
Research by Trinity Mirror’s Data Unit for the Examiner showed that over the last 12 months the number of restaurant businesses in West Yorkshire had increased significantly.
Figures from Companies House showed an extra 70 new restaurants across the county in the last year with the number of eateries increasing by half in just five years.
Across West Yorkshire there are 1,595 restaurants and cafes, the figures show.
Huddersfield-born Barrington, who launched Discovery Bay 12 years ago, said competition was tough as more and more smaller restaurants opened, taking a share of the dining market.
“A lot of migrants have come into the area and they set up restaurants as their communities grow,” he said. “You see a lot of Turkish and Kurdish restaurants, for example, but they don’t just serve those communities as everyone wants to try something different. So you see more restaurants chasing the same catchment of diners.
Barrington said in recent years gas, electricity and wages had gone up by 15%-25% in the restaurant trade, yet prices to customers couldn’t rise to compensate.
Restaurants were then tempted to reduce portion sizes or cut back on ingredients. Existing restaurants had to innovate and try new things as Barrington did, opening the Discovery Lounge cocktail bar next door.
Barrington said the failure rate for independent restaurants was 80% while only one in 10 restaurants opened by the big chains crashed.
There have been plenty of new restaurants opening across Huddersfield over the last year.
There was Turtle Bay and The Chinese Buffet late last year followed by Lebanese restaurant Ugarit on Cross Church Street and Eric Paxman’s Pax Burger and specialist chicken restaurant No 10 Kitchen opened in Lindley this year.