Olympics will be ‘boom or bust’
16 July, 2012
The forthcoming London Olympics will have a polarizing effect on restaurant business, according to a new survey by Bloomberg.
With a huge influx of visitors from overseas, trade in the capital could be strong over the two weeks of the Games and the Paralympics that follow. But with some Londoners planning to work from home and avoid central London, regular trade could be down—and road closures and delivery headaches will add to the problems.
Bloomberg’s poll of 40 restaurateurs and chefs in London uncovers some fluctuating opinions. Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s said: “We’re hugely looking forward to the Games. With all the attention on London and the influx of visitors, it’s an opportunity to showcase all that is good from these islands." Des Gunewardena of the D&D London group said: “We’ve already taken lots of bookings from sponsors, national Olympic committees and corporations. It’s clear that we will get a boost to our revenues and I think that this will outweigh the loss of business due to companies advising their staff to stay at home.”
But others are less convinced. Henry Harris of Racine said: “It’s not going to be the savior of the restaurant economy that a lot of people think… It will be of assistance but how much, I don’t know.” Mark Hix of Tramshed said: “It could go either way. The road closures are going to be a nightmare and at each site we are going to have to employ someone to accept deliveries. If the Jubilee is anything to go by, then business will be down.” Niall Howard of Hakkasan said: “It will probably be like the royal wedding last year, when the expectations were high and the reality was mediocre.” Russell Norman of Polpo said: “I’m not sure that a sporting event in east London will furnish us with any extra custom and I also fear that our regular customers will get away from London.”
Others take a mixed view. Will Beckett of Hawksmoor said: “Our Seven Dials restaurant will be rammed; Spitalfields no change; Guildhall quieter. My guess is that the City will be quiet with office workers staying at home and not being replaced by tourists.” Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social said: “The Olympics will be amazing for London and I’m proud we are hosting them. London will be tough for a few weeks regarding deliveries and also transport for staff getting into central London.”
For the full story, see Olympics prompt London’s chefs to brace for boom or bust.