News

Home cooking tops French menus while Brits foot the largest bill in Europe, reveals new Restaurant Index

17 May 2011

 Livebookings Restaurant Index reveals:
• France, Ireland and Italy are the last bastions of home cooking as over 40% of all online reservations are made for restaurants serving local cuisine
• British cuisine commands higher prices – the average menu price is 10% higher than other European food choices
• Online reservations increase three fold in the UK, with rapid growth in Austria, Denmark and Norway
• One in five online reservations expected to be made on mobile by 2012

France, Ireland and Italy are the last bastions of home cooking reveals the first ever European Restaurant Index from market leader Livebookings. Diners in France and Ireland show the greatest loyalty to local cuisine in Europe, with over 40% opting for restaurants serving home cooking when booking online in their own country.

Launched in May 2011, the Livebookings Restaurant Index tracks dining trends from across Europe on a quarterly basis. It examines the international growth of online and mobile reservations and is based on Livebookings’ online reservations data.

Loyalty towards home cooking
According to the Livebookings Restaurant Index, the French and Irish are the most loyal to their own cuisine type with 60% of all online reservations in France being made to restaurants serving home cooking. This is followed closely by Ireland where 40% of online bookings are made to places specialising in local dishes.

This loyalty towards local cuisine is absent in other parts of Europe, with less than a quarter of the online bookings made in the UK, Spain, Denmark and Germany being for restaurants specialising in the country’s home cooking. Less than 20% of online bookings made in the US are for restaurants serving American cuisine.

European dining price point
Competitive prices and value dining is driving customer loyalty across Europe. The fact British people are more likely to try dishes that incorporate European ingredients demonstrates that UK restaurateurs need to work harder to protect the identity of British dining classics.

The Index research shows the dining price point to enjoy local British cuisine in the UK is higher by 10% or more than other European food choices. Based on the average price of a three course menu, British cuisine is deemed more expensive (£29.12) than other popular food choices like Italian (£25.39), Mediterranean (£25.44) and Thai (£26.21).

Online reservations boom
The Livebookings Index reveals that online bookings have rocketed across Europe. Despite online reservations being pioneered in the UK and US, Continental Europe has the highest growth rate. In Austria alone, online reservations have increased by 432% closely followed by Denmark (275%) and Norway (247%).
In the UK, online bookings made through Livebookings have increased by 196% compared with the same month last year.

Colin Tenwick, CEO of Livebookings, says, “The Internet has become an integral part of daily life, as today’s consumers expect to connect, interact and transact with brands online. While some restaurants are savvy about the web, many are missing out on Europe’s online reservations boom and consumer demand for mobile. It’s clear from the Index findings that parts of Continental Europe are already reaping the benefits of online technology to improve the reservations experience, make it simple for consumers and deliver pain-free profits to the wider restaurant sector.”

Mobile future
Major European markets are now embracing mobile to drive online reservations. With 36% of the UK population now owning smartphones and nearly a quarter of all web browsing driven by mobile, the restaurant sector is benefitting from mobile technology to drive footfall and profitability.

The Livebookings Index reveals that 6% of all UK online bookings are made on mobile devices, an increase of two thirds over the past six months. Germany has experienced the greatest mobile boom in Europe, with online mobile reservations increasing by 375% compared with late 2010. Based on current rapid growth, Livebookings predicts that one out of every five online reservations made in the UK, Denmark and Sweden will come from mobile by 2012.

Lynne Peachey, E Communications Manager at British Hospitality Association comments: “The Livebookings Restaurant Index has uncovered interesting dining trends from across Europe and it’s no surprise that many diners are opting for European favourites given the wide breadth and high quality of different food choices on offer at restaurants in Britain. It is important for the UK restaurant sector to keep innovating and developing as well as investing in online reservations to maintain its competitive position compared to the rest of Europe.”

About the Livebookings Restaurant Index
Launched in May 2011, the Livebookings Restaurant Index tracks dining trends from across Europe on a quarterly basis. It examines the international growth of online and mobile reservations and is based on online reservations data taken through Livebookings’ customer base between January 2010 to March 2011. Livebookings operate the world’s only global, web-based restaurant reservations and marketing service, delivering over one million diners every month to 8,500 restaurants worldwide.