According to Hardens, last year London experienced “off-the-charts” restaurant growth, with 179 newcomers gracing the scene compared to the 148 from the previous year.

Harden’s co –founder, Peter Harden, commented: “The growth of London’s restaurant scene is jaw-dropping in comparison to its recent past…celebrating this as the golden age for restaurant goers.”

As one of the leading hospitality PR agencies in London, this is clearly exciting news for us and our clients as we all go for growth and envelope ourselves in this restaurant boom era, seeing this as a real opportunity to raise our game.  We continue to service our clients to the highest standards, encouraging them to think outside the box and be the best they can.  Now more than ever, it is important to stand out above the rest in a wildly competitive market whilst also looking for those new business opportunities that are lining the highways and by-ways of London’s foodie scene.

Having said all that, it seems only right as food and drink PRs that we take a moment to draw breath, take a step back and survey the scene, asking ourselves the question: when will London reach restaurant saturation point?

Every week, column inches of the food, drink and lifestyle pages are dedicated to new restaurant and bar openings (ok, a fair few are closing too) so what does this mean for the industry in years to come?

Here, I consider a number of factors that allude to working out the answer and what it means for London’s hospitality business to reach its tipping point:

Compare the following:

  • Number of restaurants currently operating in London
  • Number of new openings each week in Zones 1 & 2
  • Number of people living in Zones 1&2
  • Spend per head of each person and what they tend to eat when they go out
  • Number of tourists that dine out in Zones 1&2; where they tend to go; how often they eat out; what they spend and how informed they are of the new hot spots in town

If we can work this out, then we might be able to predict the elasticity of this restaurant growth bubble that we are living in and when this bubble can expect to burst or will it just carry on going?

Important not to ignore two of the biggest factors that serve as an undercurrent to much of this. Rents and rates.  Not only have both risen too high, but with a shortage of sites, newcomers are being forced to bid on sites that are too expensive to sustain and therefore force closure…until the next operator comes along and so the cycle continues.  Restaurants are desperate to be in London because it is fast becoming THE food capital of the world, if not already.

However, is London becoming like New York, where a restaurant can be a smash hit then go bust a year later as it is no longer the hot thing, having been ousted by the latest burger-doughnut-pizza concept?

Only time will tell.