London’s bars and restaurants report surge in Christmas demand

Despite the continued economic downturn, it seems Brits are more prepared than ever to splash out on some festive drinks or a Christmas meal.

Although Christmas time is always a busy period for the hospitality industry, the Evening Standard reports that bars, pubs and restaurants in London are seeing an even bigger surge in bookings than normal.

In fact, many venues have already seen a significant increase in customers and in some cases have doubled their stock intake in anticipation of things getting even busier over the coming weeks.

Ken Wright, managing director of The Phoenix Artist Club in Charing Cross, told the newspaper that he had to close the venue on the previous night because he ran out of wine.

He said: "My staff are exhausted as we got absolutely trounced last night. I have never seen anything like it.

"The double dip recession is not happening here. I think rather than paying bonuses, a lot of businesses are deciding to go for a big party, a really good night-out.

"I've got my suppliers coming in today to discuss how we can up to two deliveries a week instead of one."

Sammy Dodds, who takes bookings for London restaurant Kettner’s in Romilly Street, agreed that work parties are largely behind what is turning out to be an extra busy Christmas period.

"We are completely packed out with large groups," he said. "We have eight private rooms, and they are all booked up with parties, and some of them are for as many as 150 people.

"There are more bookings than last year – we are choc-a-bloc. It's going to be pretty crazy."

In many cases, this surge in demand could see pubs, bars and restaurants need to take on extra staff over Christmas, meaning the possibility of hospitality jobs becoming available for those looking for temporary positions in the sector.

It follows the release of a study by classified ad search engine at the end of November, which found that there are more than 4,200 seasonal job vacancies that have yet to be taken up across the UK, many of which are in the hospitality sector.

Berkeley Scott is a leading London hospitality recruitment agency