London restaurants are starting to see first signs of recovery from the recession, with some operators experiencing a rise in takings, footfall and customer spend in the second quarter of the year, research has found.
The monthly London Restaurant Barometer, which was launched by Business Link last year, found that 40% of restaurateurs in the capital saw an increase in takings in the three months from April to June.
The survey, which questioned more than 150 operators in London, found about a third of restaurateurs reported a rise in covers compared with the first quarter, while more than a fifth said customer spend had increased.
However, while overall figures show improvement, trading continues to be challenging as customer spend remains low. A total of 85% of operators saw customer spend unchanged or down compared with the first three months of the year.
"Over the past year people are ordering more tap water instead of bottled water and are opting for value drinks instead of quality wines and champagnes," one respondent commented.
Ashley de Safrin, business adviser for the hospitality sector at Business Link, added: "People continue to be prudent, opting for cheaper alternatives and restaurants need to bear these factors in mind when designing their menus and ordering their supplies," he said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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