Bookings firm Bookatable said that this represents an “en masse” return for the office Christmas party, many of which were scaled down or cancelled in 2009.
The most popular date for the 2010 Christmas party is Friday 10 December, with Italian eateries seeing the highest number of bookings, bagging around 62 per cent.
By comparison, Bookatable reports that French restaurants are taking 12 per cent of reservations while British restaurants serving the traditional turkey lunch are seeing just 6 per cent of all bookings.
Jemima Bird, marketing director from Tragus Group, which includes Strada, Bella Italia and Café Rouge, said: “We’ve seen a significant rise in group bookings for Christmas parties, especially compared to last year.
“Interestingly, it seems our customers are not only ordering from a Christmas menu, but plenty are requesting Italian menu options instead. It might be that they are happy to wait till Christmas Day for their turkey with all the trimmings.”
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) welcomed the news, and highlighted the importance of a booming Christmas trade for the sector.
“It’s great for our industry that consumer confidence has returned to the extent that Christmas party bookings have seen such an increase,” said a spokesman for the BHA. “Restaurants rely on being full in December to cover the quieter times so this should stand them in good stead for the New Year.”
Meanwhile Booktable is still marketing last minute Christmas deals at a number of restaurants, including Marco Pierre White’s Frankies, as well as at Al Volo and Hix.
Celia Pronto, consumer marketing director for BookaTable, said: “The Christmas party is back with a bang in 2010 as it seems businesses are able to begin rewarding their employees again.”
She added: “Although many places are now fully booked, those still looking can find some fantastic deals.”