By Claire West
The stylish suits, appetite for life and the three martini lunch — all hallmarks of the 60s business lifestyle in hit series Mad Men, could be driving a new boom in business lunches, as BookaTable has seen a 39% increase in business reservations since the latest series began in September.
The biggest resurgence of business bookings has come in Manchester with restaurant reservations there increasing by 47% in the last three months. Other cities to see a rise are Birmingham (33%) and London (19%). UK restaurants are also now averaging over three diners per sitting, as businesses look to begin wine and dining clients again.
According to BookaTable, Europe’s largest online restaurant booking service, the most popular restaurants for lunch reservations include The Ivy, Babylon Restaurant at The Roof Gardens in Kensington, Butler’s Wharf Chop House, Joe Allen in Covent Garden and Harvey Nichols in Leeds.
The most favoured food for business lunches is Italian with 32% of diners choosing this cuisine, compared to British (18%) and French (12%).
Peter Avis, Restaurant Manager for Babylon Restaurant at The Roof Gardens in Kensington, says: “We really have noticed a difference in lunch bookings in the last three months and we are expecting the numbers to keep increasing in the run up to Christmas. There was a period when businesses seemed reluctant to be spending out on long lunches but that appears to be over.”
Tom Morgan, aged 25, Reinsurance Broker, says: “The insurance industry places a great deal of emphasis on taking time out with clients and it’s important they feel suitably wined and dined. On average I will attend business lunches around three times a week and this has certainly increased over the last few months.”
Celia Pronto, Managing Director — Consumer Marketing for BookaTable, says: “There’s no doubt that business lunches are back with a bang. We’ve seen a significant upsurge in the last three months which has coincided with the return of Don Draper to our screens. As he’s such an iconic character it seems British business people want to follow in his footsteps, especially as we approach the festive season.”
BookaTable works with restaurants from across the globe, including those located in the UK, United States, France, Germany, Sweden and Spain. The website (www.bookatable.com) is available in nine languages and allows users to book tables in real time, choosing from over 8,000 restaurants in 19 countries across the globe, including Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London, Blue Elephant in Paris, East in Hamburg and Grill in Stockholm.