London's restaurants were boosted by the end of the summer holiday period and the warm weather in September, with nearly half of the 200 operators in the monthly Restaurant Barometer reporting a rise in profits.
The barometer, conducted by Government agency Business Link in London, showed that, compared to August, customer numbers were up for 46% of restaurants, a quarter saw customer spend increase, while 48% reported a rise in profits.
However, when compared with September last year, the business environment remains fragile. Approximately half (53%) reported a decrease in their profits, customer numbers (49%) and in customer spend (44%).
Ashley de Safrin, business adviser for the hospitality sector, at Business Link in London, said: "These results show that the restaurant sector continues to remain resilient in the face of the economic climate with 75% of respondents remaining profitable in this time.
"The recession continues to affect the industry however, particularly in areas such as customer spend. Customers remain cautious and the majority are opting for tap water with many seeking special offers and promotions."
"Restaurateurs should be doing as much marketing as possible," he said. "The poll found that only half of the respondents have a website. Developing a website and enabling people to make bookings online are vital tools to help restaurants succeed.
"Events such as London's Restaurant Festival are also great ways to garner local support for the industry and market a business," de Safrin added.
By Daniel Thomas
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