Tube journeys to stations in London's West End were up 27 per cent on Saturday (4 August) night according to the latest figures from Transport for London (TfL), but many restaurants still feel they are not benefiting from the trade boost promised by the London 2012 Olympics.
Last week the British Hospitality Association attended an emergency meeting with members of the leisure sector at the Mayor's office to find out what could be done to improve the situation for the capital's restaurants after trade dropped 40 per cent on average across its membership during the first weekend.
Since then footfall has increased in the area by 11 per cent with retailers in Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street all reporting increases in sales and Boris Johnson said figures from TfL meant that people were now taking advantage of the city's restaurants, shops and tourist spots
“This jaw dropping weekend of outstanding sporting success for Team GB has seen many hundreds of thousands of people travelling to 2012 venues and crowds several deep lining the streets to cheer on Triathlon and Marathon competitors," he said.
"Now London’s transport network is continuing to put in some record breaking performances of its own as it moves people into and across the city. Not only this, but these indicators show that across London we are helping millions of people head into town to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy all that our fantastic city has to offer during this momentous period.”
Below normal levels
However, despite Friday (3 August) being recorded as the busiest day on the transport network ever and footfall increasing in the West End, restaurants in Soho and Covent Garden told BigHospitality they were so far failing to see a dramatic upturn in sales.
CG Restaurants, owner of Tuttons restaurant in Covent Garden and the Dirty Martini Bars in Covent Garden and Hanover Square, said on Friday that the area was busier than it had been the previous week, but that sales were still down on a normal August.
The same was reported at independent Soho restaurant Duck Soup and Heddon Street restaurant Tibits, who'd seen trade drop by as much as 60 per cent during the first weekend of The Games .
"It picked up a bit after the first weekend, but it has been nothing like normal levels for this time of the year," said restaurant manager Zsa Zsa Daniel. "It was dead yesterday when the athletics were on."
Do you have a restaurant in central London? How are the Olympics affecting trade in your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.