TheFork reveals: the most popular booking times and areas in London

Published 04.30.2024 - Last update 05.03.2024
London restaurant trends
Table of contents
  1. Most booked day of the week for restaurants in London
  2. Most booked time of day for restaurants in London

With over 15,000 restaurants and 3,500 pubs serving 9 million residents and over 16 million yearly tourists, London’s status as a global culinary destination is undeniable. But how, and where, do people go out to eat?

Struggling to get a Saturday night table at your favourite place? Ever wondered when most people reserve a table? Maybe you’re even thinking of the best place to open your own restaurant.

Using TheFork’s internal booking platform data, we’re here to answer your questions. By tracking millions of reservations across the capital over the last year on TheFork, we’re now able to reveal the dining habits of Londoners in 2023, to confirm (or deny!) what you’ve always expected about eating out in London.

Most booked day of the week for restaurants in London


Most booked day of week

In what is likely a shock to no-one, Saturday is the most popular day of the week in London to eat out. The weekend has always meant more customers and more business for restaurants, and whether people are getting together for a tasty lunch or heading out for a big Saturday night dinner, Saturday is still the king of dining in the city.

Friday comes in at a close second with 18% of bookings – only marginally higher than Thursday and Sunday, suggesting that dining preferences across the city are more varied than expected. Restaurants should consider mid-week offers carefully, as there may be enough interest already without the need for discounts on “quieter” weekdays.

However, there’s one undisputed day that Londoners do not go out to eat – and that’s Monday. The start of the traditional working week is already a famously disliked day, and it’s well reflected in our booking data – with only a slim 8% of restaurant reservations happening on Mondays.

Wondering when potential diners are most likely to book and confirm a reservation? Well, unfortunately there’s no significant difference across most days. Friday and Saturday are 2% higher than most of the other days of the week, so if you’re looking to optimise your digital marketing, try running campaigns during these more popular booking days.

Most booked time of day for restaurants in London

Most booked time of day

Not surprisingly, the city’s favourite time to eat is 7 p.m., with 24% of all reservations on TheFork booked during the hour between 7 – 8 p.m

Other than a small bump around 12 p.m. (8% of reservations) and 1 p.m. (9%), there’s a clear tendency for Londoners to reserve a table for dinner between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Late-night dining is yet to become popular in London, with reservation mealtimes dropping off rapidly after 10 p.m.

However, the most common time of day that diners request a booking is much more varied, with an even split of between 6 – 9% from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., suggesting that there’s no specific time London diners prefer to browse restaurants and make reservations. If you were looking to optimise your advertising, try reaching diners between the hours of 5 – 6 p.m. – right before dinner – to maximise the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Most booked areas for restaurants in London

Top 10 areas to book in London
  1. Covent Garden (7.8%)
  2. Bloomsbury & Holborn (7%)
  3. Soho (6.9%)
  4. Southbank (4.2%)
  5. Mayfair (4%)
  6. Marylebone (3.6%)
  7. Victoria (3.5%)
  8. City of London (3.5%)
  9. Paddington (3.4%)
  10. Charing Cross (3.2%)

Location is one of the most important deciding factors for diners choosing a potential restaurant. Some customers will want somewhere close and easily walkable, while others might travel across the city for the best food. Our data has revealed the top ten most popular areas for eating out in London, for any restaurateurs looking to open a new establishment.

Long known as a foodie paradise, Covent Garden is home to hundreds of restaurants, including a dozen with Michelin stars awarded. Famous names like Colonel Saab, Cord and Gaucho proudly line the streets, benefitting from unrivalled access to footfall from tourists and residents shopping at Seven Dials or throughout Covent Garden.

A close second and third are Bloomsbury & Holborn (7%) and Soho (6.9%), both benefitting from the famously popular Tottenham Court Road, the British Museum, and Soho’s legendary nightlight driving more hungry visitors to the area. With Michelin-starred icons like Social Eating House and Yauatcha, alongside franchised favourites like The Real Greek and Shoryu, any potential restaurateur looking to grow a successful business would do well in any of these popular areas – as long as they’re ready for fierce competition!

Looking to tempt more Londoners to your restaurant? Discover TheFork Festival and find out what the largest booking platform in London can do for your business.

Table of contents
  1. Most booked day of the week for restaurants in London
  2. Most booked time of day for restaurants in London
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