London Olympics will see trade drop, restaurateurs claim

They predict regulars staying away, supplies being disrupted and tourists lured from the West End

London restaurateurs warned yesterday that the 2012 Olympics will be bad for business and a repeat of the "wash-out" Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April.

The London Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to attract approximately 5.5 million daytime visitors and 900,000 over-night visitors, but some restaurant owners say they will lose out. They claim regulars and cultural tourists will stay away, fans attending events will not dine out in central London, and transport disruption, such as road closures, will cause problems for customers and suppliers.

The Earl of Bradford, chairman of the Restaurant Association and owner of Porters English Restaurant and Covent Garden Grill, said the Royal Wedding last April was a "wash-out" and he suspected the Olympics could be, too. "I think that's an example when people are in London specifically for one reason they don't think of going out to a restaurant."

He questioned whether theatregoers, who dine out regularly, would go into London during the Games. This summer, more than half the shows in the West End extended their booking periods to offer sales 15 months in advance to cover the Olympic dates.

Richard Shepherd, another restaurateur, is considering closing his four restaurants, including Langan's Brasserie, during the Games after takings plunged by 75 per cent over the Royal Wedding period. "I think a lot of people are going to catch a cold again," he said. Mr Shepherd suggested London's roads would be "gridlocked" and regulars would go on holiday to avoid the disruption.

Peter Prescott, managing director of Prescott & Conran, which runs the Boundary and Albion restaurants in Shoreditch, east London, and Lutyens in Fleet Street, is concerned regular business customers will attend corporate events hosted by the Games organising committee's sponsors and partners at Olympic venues rather than entertain in restaurants. Many Olympic events clashed with normal dining times, he said.

He is also concerned about receiving deliveries – he is already hearing from suppliers about difficulties caused by disruptions to their routes.

But Mark Evers at Transport for London, in charge of getting spectators to the events, said the Games would provide restaurants with "incredible opportunities", but those in affected areas needed to start planning now. He said talking to suppliers early and testing alternative arrangements should minimise the impact.

Sara Galvin, of Galvin Restaurants, which has four London eateries including the Michelin-starred La Chapelle, was being positive. She said restaurants needed to "think outside the box". The company has an Olympics website page, translated into four languages, offering customers the opportunity to dine at different times to fit around the sporting action, watch televised events while they eat or hire the restaurant.

The chef Tom Aikens's London restaurants are among those that have signed the London Visitor Charter, promising fair pricing during 2012. He said visitors would not be at events every day and argued that people who might otherwise go away for the summer would stay in the capital for the "once in a lifetime experience".

Nevertheless, Tom Jenkins, executive director of the European Tour Operators Association, bemoaned a "total absence of normal tourists" in London during the Olympics. He said that, while operators would normally expect to bring between 20,000 and 30,000 people per night into London during August, there was currently a 95 per cent decline in leisure business during the Games.

A spokeswoman for London & Partners, a promotional agency, said it was aware of displacement – people leaving or avoiding the capital because of the Games and said other host cities had experienced the same. It is running a campaign called Limited Edition London to highlight unique events happening in the capital between now and the Games.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn