Research from its Business Insights show that fine dining, and in particular corporate entertainment, is driving growth in the restaurant industry with people more willing to eat in expensive restaurants than the previous year.
Its figures show corporate spending is outpacing consumer spending in the industry, up 15.7 per cent in Q2, on the back of a 14.4 per cent in Q1, compared with the same period last year and that spending on fine dining increased by 7 per cent in Q1, compared with the same period in 2009.
In addition, spending per meal increased by 11.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
“Although overall restaurant spending is still not a pre-recession levels, consumers who are dining out, especially in the UK’s more upmarket restaurants, are spending more,” said Kathryn Pretzel-Shiels director of client management at American Express. “We are also seeing a return to businesses entertaining their clients over meals, which is fantastic news for the industry.”
Last month the Harden’s guide reported that growth levels in London restaurants had returned to pre-recession levels, with 140 openings and only 72 closings in the past 12 months.
However, while it reported that prices had on average risen by 2.5 per cent over the same period the temporary benefit last year of paying a lower rate of VAT meant pre-tax prices remained flat – up only 0.3 per cent year-on-year.
“It’s great news that restaurant growth has remained so strong during a period in which everyone expected closures by the dozen – a sign of the restaurant scene’s surprisingly rude health,” said the guide’s co-founder Peter Harden.