Forty new restaurants have opened in the capital in the past three months, fuelling talk of a boom time for restaurant openings.
The figure, calculated by restaurant guide Harden’s, excludes the 50 restaurants and food outlets that opened in the new Westfield shopping centre in October.
Although there is no historical data to compare the number of openings against previous years, Harden’s strongly suspects it has been a record quarter for London restaurant openings
“If you multiply the 40 by four that would give an implied opening rate of 160 per annum, broadly equivalent to the record annual rate of openings so far ever recorded – 158 (noted from mid-2006 to mid-2007),” said the guide.
“Add the Westfield openings, and it’s pretty clear that you have a very definite boom in pre-Christmas restaurant openings.”
Restaurants to open in the past three months include Taste of McClements in Kew (pictured) and more recently Italian restaurant Lena in Shoreditch.
However, there are fears that the new restaurants, planned before the economy took a tumble, may not be able to benefit from as healthy Christmas trade as expected and could be in for a rough ride in 2009.
Earlier this week, Peter Backman, analyst at Horizons urged restaurants to offer discounts and deals to customers to boost Christmas trade.
He said: “As the economic climate worsens customers are cutting back on their eating out. The popularity of shopping on-line is also a threat to restaurant operators as it means less people on the high street. Feedback I have had suggests Christmas looks bleak for the eating out sector.
“The economy is likely to be depressed throughout 2009, and probably into 2010. Restaurateurs must prepare for this by continuing to monitor and control costs, buying more efficiently and doing their utmost to keep customers coming through the door.”