118 118 launches restaurant booking service

The Number 118 118 is launching a real-time restaurant booking and recommendation service as it seeks to expand its range of information and transactional services.

The company is going ahead with the service despite a downturn in the numbers of people eating out due to the recession.

The Number 118 118 says that although calls it has received for restaurant enquiries are down in volume by 10% this year and down 8% for takeaways “trade is holding up well overall… and we hope our new campaign will boost bookings”.

It has teamed up with LiveBookings, the online marketing and reservations service for the restaurant industry, to access its database of UK restaurants.

The new offering is supported with the launch of a television campaign this week featuring its animated runners, with the new strapline “You fancy it, they’ll find it”. It will feature the voiceover of actor Martin Freeman, who is best remembered for his role as Tim in The Office.

In what the company claims to be the first of its kind for a 118 service, callers to 118 118 and visitors to its website will be able to choose where to go, where to buy by cuisine and individual dishes, as well as opening times and locations.

The marketing support for the service forms part of the directory company’s £4m autumn marketing activity, which launched in September with a new brand campaign focusing on its customers created by The Brooklyn Brothers.

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