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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 12th Jan 2023 - Cost-conscious diners exhibiting push-back against restaurants perceived as overpriced
Cost-conscious diners exhibiting push-back against restaurants perceived as overpriced, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles heads Harden’s top 100 list: Cost-conscious diners are exhibiting push-back against restaurants perceived as overpriced, according to Harden’s Top 100 Best UK Restaurants. Last year’s list was topped by Sat Bains in Nottingham, but the restaurant, which offers ten-course tasting menus, has this year dropped out of the top 100 entirely. Harden’s co-founder Peter Harden believes this reveals a growing discomfort among diners towards those restaurants whose prices are perceived to outweigh the value of the experiences they provide. “Value is at the heart of the whole Harden’s survey system, therefore any dip in perception of value-change in the restaurants visited by our diners results in them quickly slipping down the rankings,” he said. “We’re really seeing some pricing push-back in the comments being submitted by those surveyed. We all know high quality food comes at a price and diners are accepting of that but, at the same time, we’re witnessing some restaurants charging staggering amounts that would have been inconceivable in the UK only a couple of years ago. Even if supply issues and cost pressures are the root of the issue for chefs, the resulting price hikes have happened so quickly that customers are clearly struggling to confront the new reality. Chefs are faced with a real challenge of where to draw the line and strike that balance in order to fall on the right side of customer perception, especially as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.” Replacing Sat Bains in the top spot is Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, pipping Evelyn’s Table at The Blue Posts, in London. “Chef Andrew Fairlie may sadly no longer be with us, but his spirit lives on in this restaurant which bears his name,” said Harden. “Reaching the top spot this year is a huge credit to his long-time lieutenants, head chef Stephen McLaughlin and general manager Dale Dewsbury.” Outside of London, the cities with the most top 100 listings are Birmingham and Edinburgh, with three each. The counties with the most listings are Cumbria and North Yorkshire, with four each.

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