Olympic disruption hitting restaurant sales
6 August, 2012
Some London restaurants have seen dips in sales of more than 60% since the Olympic Games started to take a grip on the capital, BHA figures suggest.
The British Hospitality Association said its research suggested an average decline in sales of 40% among London restaurants in the week beginning 23 July—when Olympic-related disruption began to take hold, and five days before the opening ceremony in the capital. It said some restaurants had seen the decline tip 60%, and suggested that the problems had continued into the first full week of Olympic action.
The BHA says the Olympics had also disrupted hotel booking patterns, suggesting that a lack of corporate and leisure travellers had outweighed the influx of Olympic-related visitors. “The Games have totally disrupted normal booking patterns and there is now doubt whether hotel occupancy during August this year will even match that of a normal August… It is apparent that visitors to the Games are not acting like normal tourists, where visiting restaurants, attractions and shopping is a typical activity.”
The BHA has discussed its concerns with the Mayor of London’s office as well as tourist agencies Visit Britain and Visit England. It said that following the meeting some of the much publicized Olympic lanes would be released for normal traffic after the conclusion of sporting activities, while travel agencies including Transport for London and National Rail would reduce the number of ‘Avoid’ messages they put out. The BHA will continue to press for a suspension of the London congestion charge for the rest of the Olympics, and wants to see more action including the removal of parking charges in some boroughs.
The BHA also wants to see London restaurants and attractions promoted more strongly to Olympic visitors, and is trying to persuade the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to visit London attractions, hotels and restaurants to help publicise the message that they are open for business as usual. More meetings with the various bodies are planned.
A much clearer picture of the impact of the Olympics on pub and restaurant trade will be provided by data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker for July and August.