New data from UKHospitality (UKH) and CGA revealed the capital’s hospitality sector saw revenue grow to £46bn last year, up from £43bn in 2019.
According to the numbers, sales outpaced the rest of the UK, growing by 7.7% on average a month compared to 5.6% nationally.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These figures clearly show hospitality, leisure and tourism remains absolutely critical to London.
“Our venues are somewhere that consumers, both from at home and abroad, prioritise and seek out when they visit, meaning our sector is crucial to maintaining London’s recovery and growth.
“I’m confident this appetite for hospitality and fantastic experiences will continue this year and that it can remain a key driving force behind growth and success in the capital.”
Attributed in part to major sporting and music events, such as ABBA Voyage and BST Hyde Park, the research showed more than 250 new restaurants opened in London during 2023, a 4% increase compared with 2022.
In addition, London-based bar and entertainment firm Boxpark reported record trade in December last year, with like-for-like sales up 22% on December 2022 and beating revenue made during the World Cup football screenings.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised London’s “fantastic” pubs, bars and restaurants for “driving the city’s economic recovery” and showing “phenomenal resilience”.
He added: “London’s pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants are unrivalled, and I’m delighted they have helped our capital roar back from the impact of the pandemic.
“The success of our world-leading hospitality sector over the last 12 months is alongside some incredible live music events that have brought huge crowds to our capital.”
As the capital looks forward to more big events and openings this year, including concerts from Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen as well as England’s first ever Guinness Storehouse in Covent Garden, the mayor implored Parliament to “step-up” and support struggling firms.
“We know much more still needs to be done to protect grassroots live music venues and hospitality businesses that continue to struggle during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and growing challenges with recruitment.
“The Government needs to step-up and do more to appreciate the crucial cultural, economic and social value of these venues and ensure they have the support they need”, he said.
Echoing Khan, London’s night czar Amy Lame proclaimed the capital offers “something for everyone” but that venues are still “facing challenges”.
She said: “From our world-leading venues, festivals and restaurants to our intimate small music stages and independent bars and pubs, London really has something for everyone when it comes to live music and hospitality.
“I’m delighted to see the city roaring back after the pandemic, but we know some venues still have challenges.
“They are at the heart of our communities and provide a vital platform for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs as well as boosting our economy. I’d encourage everyone to make the most of what London has to offer this year, especially our independent venues.”