Diners will have plenty on their plates this week with the launch of the latest Restaurant Week in Newcastle.
The initiative, backed by development company NE1, sees more than 60 of the city’s finest establishments promote themselves to new customers.
The event, which starts today, developed from an idea picked up by celebrity chef Terry Laybourne after a visit to New York.
It was fine-tuned with the help of NE1 chief executive Sean Bullick and is now held twice a year in January and August.
Terry, of 21 Hospitality Group, won a Michelin for his 21 Queen Street restaurant which later changed its name to Cafe 21.
He said Restaurant Week, which started in 2010, leads to a large increase in trade.
He said: “No individual or business could have delivered the initiative on their own.
“Not only would it have been too time consuming to organise but they would not have had the marketing clout or budget to invest in making it happen.
“NE1 brought all this to the table and was able to encourage businesses to put aside their competitive differences and work together to deliver Restaurant Week.
“The results speak for themselves. Over 60 of the city’s top restaurants now participate in the event and experience an average 43 per-cent increase in sales.
“As well as the tangible commercial benefit for the participating restaurants, it creates an incredible buzz in the city centre and its restaurants during what were the quietest times of the year.”
The idea behind Restaurant Week is to drive sales at the quietest times of the year just after Christmas and in the summer.
Just 13 of Newcastle’s restaurants took part in the first one and this week sees 60 put aside their commercial rivalry.
It offers diners the chance to try new eateries across the city for fixed price menus of either £10 or £15.
NE1s chief executive Sean said the idea had been a success.
He said: “Newcastle has a vibrant restaurant scene and hosting events like NE1’s Restaurant Week adds extra vibrancy to the city and helps increase business for these restaurants at traditionally quite times of the year.
“By working together the restaurant industry has helped grow the market and stimulate trade.”
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant, has been involved from the beginning.
He said: “NE1 has hugely supported and raised the profile of the city’s vibrant restaurant scene with Newcastle Restaurant Week and has encouraged new visitors to try my restaurant.
“A whole new group of regulars have been spawned by previous Restaurant Weeks and we are confident that January will be no exception.”
A full list of participating restaurants is available at www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/restaurantweek. Offers are valid until February 2.