Concierge service reports 37% rise in fine dining restaurant bookings

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Eating, Hotel

Japanese restaurants such as Roka are proving a hit with concierge service users
Japanese restaurants such as Roka are proving a hit with concierge service users
Concierge service Bon Vivant has reported a 37 per cent rise in bookings for fine dining restaurants during the first quarter of this year with Japanese restaurants proving most popular with its clients.

The figures, which compare to the last quarter of 2010, show that confidence could be returning to the sector, according to Bon Vivant founder Emyr Thomas who set up the London-based service two years ago.

"Since the start of the recession people had been paying greater attention to what they spent their money on and cutting back on leisure activities. It’s well documented that restaurants were amongst the first to be hit, due to the perceived state of the economy and the doom and gloom reported in the media," he said.

"At the start of 2011 we noticed a definite shift in behaviour, with confidence returning, and with it, a marked increase in requests for restaurant bookings, as well as other leisure activities and luxury products in general. There has also been a great buzz around the London restaurant scene over the last six months with excellent new openings almost on a weekly basis."

Japanese restaurants

Thomas said Japanese restaurants Zuma, Nobu and Roka were the first choice for client bookings as diners looked for healthier options within 'glamorous surroundings', with Hawksmoor Seven Dials and Bar Boulud also high up on their wish-lists.

He said: "London has many high-end Japanese restaurants that combine excellent food with glamorous surroundings and a great ambiance, therefore dinner becomes a full night out - being able to stay in one venue all evening for pre-dinner cocktails, dinner and a late night drink is very appealing.

"Many of our clients eat out regularly as well, therefore the health benefits of Japanese cuisine can also be important."

Weekend breaks

The first three months of this year also saw a 200 per cent increase in the number of weekend breaks booked at UK hotels compared with the last two quarters of 2010.

However, Bon Vivant, which charges clients £150 a month or £1,500 a year to have access to its personal concierge service, said clients were still booking longer breaks abroad.

"For week-long holidays or greater, our clients are still travelling abroad, but for weekend breaks, UK destinations have become increasingly popular. The main reason is that you can jump in the car or on the train after work on a Friday evening and be at your hotel within a couple of hours, instead of spending the whole day travelling.

"There was also a rise in the concept of supporting what is on your doorstep to help the country out of a recession, which may have been an influence," said Thomas.

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