London's restaurants are still feeling the pinch of the recession with only 50% of operators saying they are currently profitable, a survey has found.
According to the monthly Restaurant Barometer, which is carried out by Business Link every month allowing restaurants to compare their performance with competitors, only half of operators in the capital are making a profit with many just breaking even.
The survey also found that as many as 61% of London restaurants recorded lower takings and footfall in October this year compared with same month in 2008.
However, the Restaurant Barometer showed an improvement in trading from September to October this year. While 61% of operators reported a rise in takings and more than two thirds saw improved footfall, 45% reported an increase in customer spend.
The survey said that factors contributing to this bolstered performance in October were an influx of returning students and tourists enjoying the weak pound and Indian summer. Trade from tourism contributed to 10% of takings for 78% of London restaurant operators.
Encouragingly, some restaurants have noticed an improvement in early week trade and others have succeeded in selling more expensive wines by re-designing their drinks menus.
The survey said that the industry still had a "way to go" before trading levels recover: "Performance compared to October 2008 was poor, which confirms Office for National Statistics data that the economy has shrunk for a record sixth quarter in a row. Clearly, we still have a way to go to reach pre-recession conditions and whilst performance was good compared to September 2009, operators will still be feeling the pinch while prices in the general economy remain high."
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By Rosie Birkett
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