UK & IE Venues Optimistic on Table Bookings and Revenue in 2024

UK & IE Venues Optimistic on Table Bookings and Revenue in 2024

According to our research, 2024 could be the year of the restaurant rebound as the hospitality industry in the UK and Ireland moves from a period of turmoil and transition into one that pushes beyond the old boundaries of diner experience and business growth.

Our Beyond the Booking Hospitality Industry Report 2024 provides venue owners and operators with an opportunity to reflect on 2023, and compare their business forecasts for the year ahead with peers around the country. The report also considers the challenges they expect to face as they look to take a larger slice of the pie in their markets, and attract valuable diners, who are set to return to restaurants in their droves over the coming year.

Some key focus areas that appear in this year’s report include a very positive outlook for restaurant revenue in 2024, diners that are already planning to spend more time and money dining out, and some of the challenges that venue owners and operators continue to face, like no-shows.

ResDiary has been at the forefront of helping hospitality venues make the most of their table bookings and deliver value from every service, since its inception in 2008. By embracing the feedback and feelings of diners and restaurateurs in reports such as this, together we can help to ensure success for this year and beyond for our sector.

Read the latest UK & IE Hospitality Industry report for 2024 today!

Waiter serving table of diners in restaurant

An optimistic outlook for growth among hospitality venues 

While the hospitality industry hasn’t been full of joy in recent years, our research has found the outlook for 2024 is seemingly a lot more positive among operators.

Nearly half (48%) of restaurants expect increased revenue for 2024 – a jump from the start of 2023, when only 28% were feeling positive after being asked the same question. Of the 48% suggesting their books will look healthier in 12 months’ time, there is, on average, an expectation of a hefty 22% rise in revenue. This is also up 9% from the start of 2023, when optimistic operators looked toward the year ahead.

And it’s a feeling that has been backed by diners. Just under half of the customers we surveyed (46%) said they dined out more frequently last year, and 36% are already planning to enjoy meals out more regularly in 2024. 

So, with more people planning on heading out and spending what disposable income they have in their favourite bars and restaurants, venue owners and operators who plan accordingly can rightly be looking to the future with a sense of excitement. Of course, the plan will be to take as many table bookings as they can, advice for which we’ve included in our full report.

Restaurant worker taking payment using a card machine

How much are diners spending?

Our research also found that diners aren’t afraid to open their wallets for a decent meal out and that, unsurprisingly, dinner is when they spend the most. More than half (56%) said they would spend between £30 and £70 on dinner, and £10 to £30 for breakfast and lunch on average.

This is important information to note, as 73% of owners and operators surveyed are expecting an increase in operation costs and nearly 9 out of 10 venues (87%) said they planned to increase menu prices this year. While bars and restaurants will obviously want to get as much value from every visit as possible, it may be wise to consider your own diner spend data before raising prices and potentially scaring away trade.

A graphic breaking down average diner spend in UK and Ireland for dinner lunch and breakfast

Diners indicated the most common reason for getting out and about is the chance to spend more time with friends and family. Venues can use insights like this to set themselves up for success, tailoring special offers and promotions targeted towards larger group bookings and special occasions - especially to make the most of key trading periods like Mother’s Day and the festive season

By enjoying a tailored experience, combined with incredible service, patrons will hopefully realise that going out is well worth it, potentially leading to repeat bookings and repeat revenue for businesses.


Common hospitality challenges: No-shows and staffing struggles

For many business owners, costly no-shows and staffing struggles remain common.

More than three-quarters (76%) of restaurants surveyed were impacted by no-shows in 2023, with an average of 8% of all bookings. Despite this, an increasing number of venues did not require a deposit in 2023 (40% compared to 38% in 2022). 

Of the places that chose to go with booking deposits, the evidence suggests they are getting smart with how it is implemented – requiring a deposit only when a booking is for a certain number of guests, rather than insisting on a blanket rule which may potentially put people off. Just under 1 in 10 (9%) venues always required a deposit, a figure that’s down from 14% in 2022.

On the staffing front, more than half of restaurants (53%) have reported vacancies. However, it is pleasing to see that figure is down from last year when the figure sat at 63%. Another sign that the industry could be heading in the right direction in filling crucial roles in the front-of-house and kitchen.

Those surveyed said hiring or retaining employees is expected to be less of a challenge in 2024, suggesting the staffing crisis, experienced by so many businesses for so many years, could be easing. 

A significant number of operators opened a new venue last year as well, and more than a quarter said they are either opening or considering opening another site in 2024 – all signs that point to more jobs, more revenue, and certainly more happy customers.

Female restaurant manager working on tablet device

Read the full report on the hospitality industry and start planning for your venue’s future now

Bars and restaurants across the UK and Ireland have certainly not been without their troubles in recent years. But it appears that everyone is ready for a positive change. It’s refreshing to see so many venues embrace the year ahead and look forward to it - rather than dreading what’s to come as in the recent past.

So, if you have been waiting for an opportunity to start implementing your plans, now is the time to start paying closer attention to these opportunities.

Download the full Hospitality Industry Report for 2024 today!

Download the full hospitality industry report for 2024