Food and DrinkNews

Christmas Cancelled? – Brits “Cautious” About Retuning To “Normal”

Lack of trust in other customers and those preparing food when dining out is keeping a vast majority of Brits at home.

Research carried out by CGA for hospitality marketing specialists Down at the Social has revealed that 55% of Brits are remaining cautious about returning to ‘normal’ as they worry about their health (72%), a second peak of Covid-19 (78%) and going back into local lockdown (64%).

However the 45% that have been out in the first four weeks since lockdown feel safe, and have in the majority repeated the experience. 1 in 6 of those who have been out multiple times have been out 4 or more times.

The pub is winning out, followed by restaurants, with bars lagging behind and 40% with most people staying within 10 miles of home in a bid to avoid public transport and other risks.  Only 2% admitted to travelling over an hour for food or drinks.

It’s not perfect though as 36% of those that went out said they saw something that discouraged them from doing it again, and one third of visitors to premium venues have been put off by reduced menus.

Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme hasn’t done much to bring the sceptics back to the market but consumers revealed that they are significantly less likely to visit venues that are not signed up. What’s more, 57% of consumers will still eat out at the weekend even if eating out Monday to Wednesday to qualify for the 50% off discount.

Restaurateurs’ fears that the activity would promote the discount culture they desperately need to see the back of were proven to be well placed, as 43% said they only plan to visit places with offers or discounts.

Bookings appear to be vital to driving consumer confidence, but 13% admitted to not turning up when they had made a reservation, with 62% of these admitting that they didn’t inform the venue. Reasons stated included, 1 in 10 admitting they forgot and 13% said they were too nervous.

Yet when asked about the booking experience many complained about having to download an app they didn’t want.

Takeaways have remained popular with pizza coming out top followed by chinese.  Top choices included:




Fish and chips




Southern Fried Chicken


British Traditional




When asked about the future only 33% feel they would attend a work Christmas party and 60% are not prepared to book tickets to bigger events like gigs or festivals until at least next year.  Only 40% have booked a holiday and 44% see hols abroad as more risky, yet 39% still favour hotels over private accommodation (29%).

Daisy Whitehouse, MD at Down at the Social, said;  “It’s great to see that half of the country has made steps to returning to some level of norm in their drinking and dining habits and operators can rest assured that they are getting the safety measures right.  But it is worrying that so many are still staying away. We can see that price is still a driver in the decision making process but safety remains the biggest concern as we worry about a second wave and local lockdowns. With a poor Christmas season on the horizon bars and restaurants are going to have to work hard to get people through the door at a time which is often their most profitable of the year.”