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Restaurant closures at lowest level for a decade

20 August 2009 by
Restaurant closures at lowest level for a decade

The number of London restaurant closures is at its lowest level for a decade, the forthcoming Harden's London RestaurantGuide has revealed.

A total of 64 restaurants have closed in the past year while openings have risen from 111 last year to 121 this year marking a return to the decade's normal range.

According to the guide, long-term players at the top of the industry are pushing ahead with "big ticket" restaurants, such as the forthcoming 17,000sq ft Aqua development financed by Hong Kong investors and due to open above the former Dickins & Jones department store near Oxford Circus.

"Everyone, including us, thought that London's restaurants were in for a bloodbath in 2009, well it just didn't happen," said Peter Harden, co-editor of the guide.

The guide speculates that most restaurant-going Londoners have retained their jobs and that their disposable income has been boosted by lower mortgage payments. Restaurants are also no longer "embarrassed" by active promotions, made easier by offer-driven websites.

With the average price of dining out in the London up by 1.6% to £40.73, Harden added that restaurant operators have also benefited from the Government's reduction in VAT.

"Restaurateurs collectively have not only been able to keep the benefit of the 2.5% temporary reduction in VAT, but also to put their prices up by 1.6% on top of this," he said.

The 19th edition of the Harden's London Restaurant Guide is due for release early next month.

Lack of financing may dampen restaurateurs' confidence >>

Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay's restaurants remain the best in the UK >>

Restaurateurs urged to keep costs low >>

By Emma White

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