Christmas party venues decided on price-per-head

Christmas party venues in 2011 will be selected based on their price-per-head costs, according to research by The Mystery Dining Company (TMDC).

Its survey claims that 80 per cent of businesses do not intend to increase their budgets for their Christmas parties this year, despite food prices growing by up to 20 per cent thanks to VAT.

This means that the majority of firms will stick to a strict £16-£35 per head policy for their big work night out – the same as in 2010.

In the 300 person survey, cited by, just 16 per cent said that they intended on cutting down on eating out with workmates.

Some said that they would swap food budgets for drinks or go out more this year (11 per cent), and 21 per cent of respondents said that they would do as they pleased, regardless of costs.

TMDC director Sally Whelan says that restaurateurs and party venues will need to assure firms that they are getting good value for money this year. Three quarters of those polled said that they would be investigating between three and five venues before settling on their final choice.

Whelan also said that as well as having a clear website with useful information, event venues staff should be knowledgeable and forthcoming.

“Many people will use it as an opportunity to test the staff member on the other end of the phone to ensure they are knowledgeable, efficient and, most importantly, welcoming,” she said, according to

“Winning over customers during this exchange is important and you want to leave them feeling confident in the choice they have made.”