What is the London Restaurant Festival?
The London Restaurant Festival is a citywide celebration of eating out, designed to raise the profile of restaurants involved and increase covers. The Festival, created by restaurant critic Fay Maschler and her business partner Simon Davis, was launched in 2009. With the help of key partners, in its first year the Festival saw some 400 restaurants from across the capital running special, fixed-price Festival Menus, with about 10,000 meals being enjoyed by Londoners and visitors. Building on the awareness generated by a very successful inaugural Festival, 2010 saw nearly 600 restaurants serve up 30,000 covers as well as the likes of Alain Roux and Raymond Blanc joining culinary forces with Claude Bosi and Bruno Loubet respectively in unique, specially created events. During this time, the city’s restaurateurs work together to offer food lovers the chance to explore some of the capital’s finest cooking - from its high-profile Michelin-starred restaurants to coveted neighbourhood bistros. In 2012, the festival grew yet further and featured over 800 restaurants serving Festival Menus to 50,000 people.
The London Restaurant Festival comprises two main elements: Festival Menus and Festival Events. Attractively priced Festival Menus, designed to showcase a restaurant’s individuality and cooking style, are the bedrock of the annual celebration and the means to increase revenue for the participating establishments.
Unlike other Festivals, the London Restaurant Festival is not a singular, one-location event for which a single ticket can be purchased. It is an umbrella festival under which a host of activity and individual events take place.
When is it?
The 2012 London Restaurant Festival will run from 1 - 15 October with Festival Menus being offered in restaurants throughout this period.
As a participating restaurant, how can I get involved?
This year we are looking to expand the number of restaurants taking part, both by the restaurants creating Festival Menus that run throughout the two week Festival period and through events generated by the restaurants themselves, with PR and marketing support coming from the London Restaurant Festival management team as well as TASTE PR.
Why should I get involved?
Festival Menus are the most important part of the Festival and the most accessible opportunity for the wider public to get involved. Working alongside Livebookings and Bookatable, we hope that over 800 restaurants will participate in the Festival this year. There will be a detailed search function to ensure that restaurants will not be anonymous within the Festival.
The Festival represents an opportunity not only to participate in an exciting citywide celebration and piggy-back the media attention that comes with an event replete with high-profile names, but also in very practical terms, to promote your restaurant and increase your covers.
The Festival Menus campaign will be launched in September 2011 when the menus go live on the website and the public can make reservations.
What is a Festival Menu?
Festival Menus are specially created by the hundreds of participating restaurants and are available to customers throughout the Festival period. For the customer, they are a great-value way to try out new restaurants or revisit those establishments that might usually be less accessible. For restaurants, they are an opportunity to showcase how creative, sustainable and delicious their food can be.
Festival Menus should be available at lunch and/or dinner throughout the Festival period. An example of every restaurant’s Festival Menu can be uploaded by the restaurant on the London Restaurant Festival website from early September 2012.
How do I price my Festival Menu?
We are committed to making it easy to take part in the London Restaurant Festival. To ensure that the promotion maintains a clear consumer message, that it is simple for the restaurant to take part and that there is something for every budget, we invite you to do a two course menu (for either lunch, dinner or both) at one of the following prices: £10; £20; £30 and £40.
How is American Express involved?
American Express is delighted to be the headline sponsor of the London Restaurant Festival. American Express is committed to supporting the restaurant industry through initiatives such as the London Restaurant Festival, driving more business to restaurants by marketing to higher spending loyal American Express Cardmembers. American Express Cardmembers dine out, whether for business or pleasure, more than the average cardholder, and we’re looking forward to putting together some offers specifically for Cardmembers, to drive business to restaurants taking part in this year’s Festival. By marketing the Festival directly to Cardmembers we will be encouraging them to try somewhere new, or revisit a favourite restaurant.
How do I become an American Express merchant?
We would be delighted to put you in touch with American Express to discuss commencing acceptance of the American Express Card. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest, detailing your restaurant name, address including postcode and telephone number. American Express will contact you directly to discuss set up.
How do I apply for an American Express card?
Please visit www.americanexpress.co.uk for full details on the range of cards and how to apply.
What are the roles of Livebookings and Bookatable in this year’s Festival?
Livebookings is the official booking partner of the 2012 London Restaurant Festival. Through their consumer-facing brand, Bookatable, the hundreds of restaurants that take part will automatically acquire greater access to the huge community that searches for and books restaurants online.
With Livebookings providing the reservations technology already used by thousands of restaurants around the world, and their established expertise in how to increase bookings through online marketing - they will help streamline the processes for participating restaurants and market the event to a much bigger and broader spectrum of consumers.
How can the London Restaurant Festival benefit my business?
Unlike other food-related celebrations in the capital, the London Restaurant Festival has been conceived to drive more business to restaurants and to raise their profile. It is an event that is committed to being universally accessible.
In 2009, 450 restaurants took part and 10,000 Festival Menus were booked, with many more enjoyed through walk-in trade. In 2010, nearly 600 restaurants generated in the region of 30,000 covers. Last year, through our partnership with Livebookings’, the average increase in covers was be considerably higher. We served 50,000 Festival Menus.
How do I ensure I get noticed during the Festival?
As well as the incentive to feature at the London Restaurant Festival Awards party on 15 October, the gastronomic fortnight will be publicised and supported on the Festival website, as well as via our PR & Marketing campaign and through the support of our partners’ LRF-specific marketing strategies.
Tips to ensure you make the most of this year’s Festival:
Who do I talk to about planning an in-house event?
Please email any suggestions for in-house events that can be incorporated into the Festival to Adam Coghlan - email@example.com.
Tell me more about the Awards
A grand finale for the 2012 Festival, the London Restaurant Festival Awards will take place on 15 October 2012 and will be a true celebration of the city’s restaurants. Held at Vinopolis and attended by the most influential people in London’s restaurant industry, the awards will be largely focused towards showcasing the best Festival Menus of 2012.
There will be eight awards presented on the night, four of which will be for best Festival Menus in each pricing category. Festival Menus will be judged in the fairest way possible - whereby the number of bookings made is divided by the number of covers offered.
The Awards will be free to all those attending. In addition to those restaurants shortlisted for an award, during the registration process all participating restaurants will be given the opportunity to enter a ballot to receive one of 400 invitations currently allocated to restaurants running Festival Menus.
What Festival Events are being planned for 2012?
An exciting line up of events is being planned for the 2011 Festival: some new; as well as improved versions of our signature events. Details can be found on the Main Events and Side Order Events pages.
In the meantime, please contact us if you have a query regarding a specific event.
Who are the key people behind the Festival?
What partner organisations are involved?
For 2012 The London Restaurant Festival is being held in partnership with American Express. Other partners currently include Livebookings. Exciting new partners will be announced later this year.
Where can I learn more about the Festival?
By signing up to our newsletter on the homepage of this website. We will keep you updated as events are confirmed, partners secured and initiatives agreed. Follow us at facebook.com or on twitter.com/LRF2012.
What does it cost to be part of the Festival?
Registration is a one-off fee: £149+VAT.
Who can I speak to?