New data from the Mastercard Economics Institute looks at how London’s dining and nightlife have been transformed by changing working habits.
Absence of office workers felt in the City and Canary Wharf
Restaurant spending in the City and Canary Wharf has dropped to 16.6% of all restaurant spending in London, down from 20.1% before the pandemic.
The City’s and Canary Wharf’s share of London’s restaurant spending only ever nears pre-pandemic levels on Thursdays
Before the pandemic, restaurant spending in both areas rose every weekday from Monday onwards, peaking on Friday. In 2023, spending is concentrated between Wednesday and Friday, peaking on Thursday, which has become the most popular day for working in the office.
Happy hour is up, dining out is down
Spending on card during happy hour is 10% above pre-pandemic levels, as office workers socialise with colleagues. But office workers are shunning lunches and breakfasts during the working day – which are 18% and 15% below pre-pandemic levels respectively.
Home workers eat local
Affluent residential areas in south-east London, such as Blackheath, Denmark Hill, Dulwich and Greenwich, where people are more likely to work from home, have picked up most of the share of spending on restaurants and bars, rising from 3.7% in 2019 to 6.5% in 2023. Southeast London continues to capture an ever-larger share of spending, expanding even in comparison to 2022.
Mayfair sees one of the biggest falls in share of restaurant and bar spending for a single postcode
It went from 3.2% of London’s total in 2019 to 1.9% today, -1.3 pp lower. The fall was driven by night-time spending, declining from 6.4% in 2019 to 4.2% in 2023.
Natalia Lechmanova, Senior Economist, Europe at Mastercard said,“As people have settled into hybrid working patterns, the way they spend their time and money has changed, and we’re seeing long-term shifts in London’s ‘going out’ economy.
“While the City and Canary Wharf are feeling the absence of office workers, pockets of London have benefited from the return of tourists and students. Meanwhile, home workers have reinvigorated the hospitality sector in residential areas, with South East London being the biggest winner.”