The number of diners reserving restaurant tables online has more than doubled in the past year.
Just 7% of diners reserve tables online in the UK, but this figure is growing at more than double the rate of last year, online restaurant marketing expert Livebookings has revealed.
The number of restaurants taking online bookings from their own websites has also more than doubled (69%) from last summer to summer 2009.
David Norris, chief operating officer for Livebookings, said that all operations from Michelin-starred restaurants to independent pubs can benefit from online bookings.
"Establishing an online bookings system and offering targeted deals means restaurant managers can maximise their restaurants' potential and let staff focus on serving customers," he said.
Despite the economic downturn, Livebookings is growing 107% year on year, and with an average of 3.1 diners per online booking, it adds that restaurant managers should use reservations to capture customer details in order to build a database for future email campaigns.
"Customers don't want to be bombarded with deal after deal, but at the same time even the most well-known restaurants can benefit. In the past they may never have considered running offers, but are now seeing significant returns," said Norris.
Let's get digital - how to use social media >>
By Emma White
E-mail your comments to Emma White here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next restaurant job here with Caterersearch.com jobs