The Dining Index from Livebookings, which has analysed data from over 9,000 restaurants worldwide, shows that UK restaurants offer the biggest discounts in Europe, with an average 50 per cent deduction on price.
Peter Avis, Babylon’s Restaurant Manager at The Roof Gardens, said: “Restaurants have recognised that in order to attract more customers they need to address the many occasions people choose to dine out and tailor the offers accordingly.
“Innovative concepts, menus and pricing can all encourage diners to choose different times during the week. Tuesday can be the new Friday given all the mouth-watering offers currently available.”
As well as discount dining, footfall in restaurants is being increasingly driven by online and mobile bookings. There has been a 44 per cent growth in mobile bookings in the UK for the first half of 2011 compared to the second half of 2010, while one in five online bookings is expected to be made by mobile by 2012.
Colin Tenwick, chief executive of Livebookings, remarked: “The economic climate has seen huge innovations in the restaurant industry. By creating a deals market and through embracing technology, restaurants have shown a robustness at a time when many other businesses are starting to feel nervous.
“The deals market is vast, encompassing all types of restaurants, and consumers are tapping into it every day, but our message is that consumers don’t quite realise the extent of offers available and are actually well-placed to make even more savings when eating out.”
Celebrity and Michelin star restaurants also continue to receive heavy footfall despite the economic downturn. Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is the most-booked Michelin-starred restaurant, while Jamie’s Italian in the most-booked celebrity restaurant.
Peter Martin, founder of the Peach Factory consultancy, summarised the report’s findings. “People are not giving up on eating-out and value is becoming increasingly important,” said Martin. “Interestingly, although offers and vouchers can get customers through the door, it is no guarantee they will come back.
“The most significant development is the growing sophistication of marketing, especially the growing use of mobile phone technology. The smart phone is fast becoming the restaurant world’s most potent marketing tool.”