Restaurant operators in London are optimistic about business in 2010 despite a tough start to year, a survey has found.
According to the monthly Restaurant Barometer, which is carried out by Business Link London and questions more than 300 restaurant operators in the capital, nearly half of restaurants reported a drop in trade, footfall and customer spend in January compared with 2009.
While more than half (54%) of restaurants in London ran promotions in January to boost trade, 49% reported a fall in takings and 47% a drop in covers which were largely blamed on the adverse weather conditions during the month.
"The snow lost us a lot of business," one operator said.
However, looking forward, 57% of London's restaurants said they anticipate an increase in takings during 2010 compared with last year, with 70% expecting to keep on the same number of staff.
Consumer confidence appears to support the optimism of the restaurants, with 83% those surveyed saying they expect to eat out the same amount or more in 2010 than they did last year.
Ashley de Safrin, business adviser for the hospitality sector at Business Link London, said: "Despite a slow January, prospects are looking up for the restaurant sector. 2010 should give rise to increasing trade through more targeted marketing and innovation by restaurant owners."
De Safrin added that reviewing marketing plans and the use of promotions would be vital.
"In particular websites are a cost-effective way to reach customers and increase bookings," he said.
"While an encouraging 72% of our surveyed restaurants have a website for their business, this does mean that more than a quarter have yet to develop a web presence to both promote their business and take online bookings."
Snow both helped and hindered hotels in January, says PKF >>
By Kerstin Kühn
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