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London seated diner numbers fall short of pre-pandemic levels

Published:  05 October, 2022

According to data from OpenTable, the global restaurant booking system, dining numbers in London are falling short of pre-pandemic levels.

Based on OpenTable’s State of the Industry data, London diners were down -14% in September 2022, against pre-pandemic levels. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the UK, which saw an 18% boost vs pre-pandemic levels in September 2022.

As a result, the capital is recovering more slowly than the rest of the UK. Seated diner numbers across the UK have consistently exceeded 2019 levels since May 2021, whilst London seated diner numbers have broken through 2019 levels on occasion but consistently fall back below the baseline after short spikes.

To investigate the issue further, OpenTable surveyed 2,500 Londoners in August 2022. The data found that 37% of Londoners believe Central London to be the best dining destination in the city, despite the overwhelming decline in numbers.

The research also revealed that the average diners would travel six tube stops for a meal, with Gen Z diners preferring to stay local (three to four stops) and Boomers and Millennials willing to travel 10 or more stops. 

In addition, 46% of those surveyed use booking platforms for restaurant reservations, and 55% of Millennials consider booking platforms a go-to for reservations, compared to restaurant websites, social media and telephone bookings. 

Lucy Taylor, VP EMEA, OpenTable, said: “Our data shows that London is experiencing a slower recovery compared to the rest of the UK, so OpenTable is encouraging diners to go out and support restaurants if they can, during this quieter period following the summer and ahead of the festive season.”

To help encourage diners back into the capital, OpenTable is launching Dine London, a free pop-up available for consumers this October.

The pop-up, bookable via OpenTable, will highlight some of the capital’s favourite cuisines: British and Italian and two trending cuisines: Greek and Mexican, inviting diners to expand their palette and re-discover London’s culinary delights.

The event will be held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October at The Southbank and Tuesday 11, and Wednesday 12 October, at King’s Cross.