Price rises at London restaurants have slowed to their lowest rate in a decade as the industry attempts to attract ever more cost-conscious consumers, a survey has found.
According to the 2011 Harden's London Restaurant Guide, which is published next month, the average spend for dinner at restaurants in the capital has increased by 2.5% to £41.75. However, the benefit of a lower VAT rate effectively reduces this rise to just 0.3%, the weakest price growth in more than 10 years, Harden's said.
Meanwhile the capital has seen a surge in new restaurant launches in the past 12 months, with 140 openings up from 121 last year reflecting the industry's "extraordinary resilience" thanks to operators being more flexible and consumers benefiting from reduced interest rates.
The number of restaurant closures rose from 64 last year to 72 remaining at a "moderate rate" according to Harden's, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Co-editor Richard Harden said the London restaurant trade had become more professional and commercially savvy.
"For decades it was an accepted truth that 'good restaurants don't advertise'," he said. "But - via discount sites, targeted emails and social media - the internet has transformed the ability for restaurants to market themselves more subtly - one of the major factors allowing them to ride out the current economic storm."
By Kerstin Kuhn
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Published by: The Caterer