The trend for UK diners eating out on Christmas Day shows no sign of slowing, with bookings in 2017 rising 240% compared with five years ago, according to research by restaurant booking platform OpenTable.
Traditional British cuisine ranks as the most popular option for diners at 19%, while Italian food makes up 12% of Christmas bookings. Modern European cuisine accounts for 8% of bookings, followed by Indian food and French, both at 7%.
Adrian Valeriano, EMEA vice-president at OpenTable, said: “Christmas Day restaurant bookings are showing no sign of slowing down, highlighting that UK diners want to hand over the Christmas stress and focus on enjoying the day with friends and family. In the UK we are spoilt with choice of restaurants that provide quality dining experiences in an intimate environment, perfect for a Christmas Day dinner.”
The company said operators needed to ensure an efficient and enjoyable experience for customers as on any other day of the year. Recommendations include operators securing reservations via credit card to avoid losses resulting from no shows or last-minute cancellations.
Regular guests should also be rewarded for their loyalty throughout the year with festive treats on the house, while making bar or counter seats available to book online during the festive period allowed restaurants to capture last-minute reservations and maximise dining numbers. OpenTable also recommends operators obtain contact details of festive diners to invite them back the following Christmas.