Research by OpenTable has found that two out of five diners believe that concept restaurants offer a more enjoyable experience.
Over half of UK diners have visited a concept restaurant, according to OpenTable. The results suggest that diners now want an experience from their meals, rather than just a good meal.
Concept restaurants can range from interactive experiences, like the touchscreen menu at Inamo, to certain dress codes, as shown at London's first naked restaurant, the Bunyadi, or experimental food offerings, such as at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. However, 88% of restaurateurs surveyed believe that the quality of food on offer at concept restaurants suffers.
Diners echoed the opinion from restaurateurs, with 80% thinking that the quality of food is the most important factor, 28% saying the best concepts are those that revolve around food and 13% choosing to dine at restaurants that experiment with food.
From the restaurateurs surveyed, 95% said they have seen a rise in concept restaurants in the UK. Almost half (44%) consider themselves to be a concept restaurant and one third believe that every restaurant should deliver a concept.
Sebastian Lyall, founder of the Bunyadi, said: "We are all about creating unique and immersive concepts. Our audience expects the best and this makes us increasingly mindful of every single detail in the projects we execute. It is this attention that helps us to navigate the challenge of ensuring repeat visits to our pop-up sites, and carrying our audience with us into every new adventure with excitement and enthusiasm.
"Our pop-ups also enable us to test and iterate concepts before investing in a more permanent site. It is fantastic to see the growth of concept dining with restaurants really focusing on the story that makes them unique, and seeing how diners respond to this."
Given the option, diners would prefer to dine in a concept restaurant that hosts a new chef every week. The second most-popular suggestion was a restaurant that only serves alcoholic food, and the third was a restaurant where you only pay for how long you stay.
Adrian Valeriano, vice-president of OpenTable Europe, said: "The restaurant industry is ever changing and we are constantly seeing new and more diverse concepts launching. With an increasingly competitive landscape and more discerning diner base, the need for restaurants to differentiate their offering through a unique and compelling story will only continue to grow.
"Concept restaurants have a dual role to fulfil both in terms of the quality of their food and the experience that they deliver, to ensure longevity."
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