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Survey serves up plenty of optimism for hospitality industry in UK & Ireland

14/03/2024
ResDiary CEO Colin Winning

Optimism for a successful year is high among restaurant owners and operators in the UK and Ireland, a report from leading international online booking and table management software provider ResDiary revealed today.

The company’s latest Beyond the Booking report on the hospitality sector found nearly half of businesses surveyed (48%) expect revenue to rise across the year, while more than a third of consumers (36%) said they expected to dine out more often over the next 12 months.

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The company said its findings will be a timely boost to an industry which has been hit by a series of negative stories in recent months, with several high-profile names announcing they were closing their doors.

Highlights from the report, which was released today, include statistics that show:

Nearly half (48%) of restaurants surveyed are expecting 2024 to deliver increased revenue, with those expecting an increase in revenue predicting a 22% rise – up from 13% ahead of 2023. Just under a fifth of operators (18%) opened a new venue in 2023, with more than a quarter (28%) either opening (14%) or considering opening (also 14%) another site this year
Nearly half (46%) of diners went out more in 2023 than in 2022 – and 36% expect to dine out more this year

More than three-quarters of restaurants (76%) were impacted by no-shows in 2023, with the average loss across the year amounting to £3,621

ResDiary CEO Colin Winning said: “The latest report makes for exciting reading and should be a real shot in the arm for the industry. There have been many stories suggesting our sector is on its knees, but the results from this latest survey paint a different picture, as operators appear to be quietly optimistic about the future.

“The fact that 48% of venues surveyed predict an increase in revenue – a figure that has increased by 20% since this time last year – shows things are looking positive for restaurant owners and operators across the UK and Ireland. Especially when you factor in there being a bigger appetite from diners to enjoy meals out more often.

“However, the only way of turning this positivity into reality is to ensure venues take the lead and do all they can to attract diners, and ensure they come back for more. The survey has some hugely intriguing insights which will help restaurants along this journey, and it is exciting to be heading into the busy season with this energy.”

Despite the general positive vibe, the report, which saw 175 people representing venues respond, and a further 595 diners offer their perspectives, did also find restaurants are still being impacted by diners not showing up.

Venues across the British Isles lost an average of more than £3,500, with diners in the East Midlands the worst offenders, with 14% of bookings resulting in no-shows. However, it’s in Scotland that venues are being hit in the pocket the worst, with those failing to turn up costing an average of £4,611.

Colin added: “There is still work to be done on educating diners as to the impact their not showing up has on venues. More than three-quarters of restaurants surveyed experienced no-shows in 2023, which is staggering, particularly when an average of 8% of all bookings don’t turn up. It’s a worrying trend, which although only represents a 3% increase on 2022, is something that needs to be tackled.

“Many of those surveyed are local, independent venues who rely on every booking to survive. So not only is the onus on bar and restaurant owners to entice diners, but it’s also up to people in these communities to use these venues, or at least cancel with plenty of notice. If they don’t, there is a chance they could be lost forever.”

While staffing has been a long-term issue for the industry, the report from Glasgow-headquartered ResDiary, whose system is used by more than 10,000 venues across the world, also found that while 53% of restaurants still had vacancies, it represented a 10% drop from 2023.

Colin said: “The signs of progress in many aspects of the industry we all love are there, it’s the level to which we – restaurants, diners, and the supply chain – all come together to realise that potential that will decide whether this year will be a success. And through deeper connections between restaurants and customers and venues doing all they can to make the most of every visit, I have no doubts we will be able to do that.”

To read the full report, visit https://resdiary.com/industry-insights/uk-ie-hospitality-industry-report-2024

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