NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week serves up million-pound boost for businesses

NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week boosted the city’s economy by more than £1million in January, breaking all previous event records.

As well as the record £1,008,955 takings, there were more diners taking part and more participat-ing restaurants than at any time in the event’s 12-year history.

January’s event, which ran January 16-22, saw 119 restaurants take part, with more than 58,000 diners enjoying discounted menus across the city priced at £10, £15 or £20 per person.

The economic benefits extend beyond the restaurants themselves too, with bars, taxi companies and other transport providers all noting an uplift in business with many participating venues also able to offer extended hours for their staff during the week – a rarity in the usual post-Christmas lull.

Inspired by a similar scheme in New York, the biannual NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week event was the first of its kind in the UK. Its success has influenced many other UK cities to follow suit. NE1’s first event was hosted in 2011 with 13 of the city’s top restaurants taking part, the majority of which are still among the those taking part each year.

Ben Whitfield, director of communications at NE1 Ltd said: “We are delighted that January has smashed all previous records, and that we have surpassed the £1million mark. This is a huge milestone for the event and a reflection of its popularity across the region. Even when times are tight, people want to enjoy experiences and Restaurant Week delivers each time. Roll on August, when people will again be able to enjoy what is now a key date in Newcastle’s event calendar.”

Andy Hook – from the Hooked On Group, owners of Blackfriars and Dobson & Parnell – said: “We joined in 2011 when the event only had 13 venues, so to be part of this journey and see it gen-erate more than £1million in revenue for the restaurants of this great city is a testament to the stunning progress of the event. It’s always a great time for us to give a little back and get bums on seats so I’m delighted it’s working so well for both restaurateurs and the dining public. We can’t wait to see how far it can go.”

The team at one of the newcomers to this year’s event, Missy Milieu, were also delighted with how their first week went. Director Matthew Settle said: “It’s our first year of trading and we were ex-tremely pleased to have been invited to our inaugural event alongside some well-respected and established restaurants in the city. We were fully booked during the week, which helped us establish ourselves quickly on the scene, during what are extremely difficult trading times. It was an absolute pleasure taking part in Restaurant Week and gave us an amazing opportunity to showcase the quality and attention to detail that we provide to our customers. We’re already look-ing forward to taking part in August’s event and welcoming back the new customers we attracted.”

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