London, 9 March 2016… New research by OpenTable, the world’s leading restaurant booking service, highlights the growing popularity of bar side dining, as well as reporting a rise in UK restaurateurs investing in bar areas and menus.
The survey of more than 1,300 UK diners and restaurateurs revealed that 81% of consumers enjoy bar dining and 61% would be more likely to visit a restaurant if it had a welcoming bar area. Over half of diners (55%) would even visit a restaurant specifically for their bar menu. Additionally, a quarter of diners (26%) would prefer to dine in a high-priced restaurants bar area before deciding to invest in a meal in the restaurant.
This diner behaviour may explain why almost one fifth (19%) of restaurants that do not currently house a bar are looking to invest in one. The key incentives highlighted for this appetite to invest were the ability to offer a varied price point menu, provide a different experience for customers and host private parties.
A further reason restaurants are investing in their bar area is to try and keep guests in their restaurant for a longer period. With 68% of diners admitting they would be more likely to spend the entire evening in one location if the restaurant offered a great bar area, this may be a wise move.
Of those restaurants surveyed that currently have a bar, 65% either have, or are planning to invest in the area in the next 12 months and almost half (49%) of restaurateurs with a bar are planning on increasing their marketing to promote bar dining in the next 12 months.
As well as investing in the area itself, it appears the majority (67%) of restaurateurs are also investing in the bar menu. The main motivations for this are to test menu concepts, offer a varied price point, offer a different menu, stay ahead of trends and to remain competitive.
Mike Xenakis, Managing Director at OpenTable, comments, “The trend for bar dining is something we have seen coming through in our discussions with our restaurant partners over the past few months, and it’s interesting to see that the wider dining community is tapping into this too. A great bar area not only acts as the gateway to a restaurant but is an area where chefs can test menu concepts and stay ahead of the trends.”