Restaurants, pubs and bars are successfully reassuring guests about their safety—but a dip in satisfaction scores during busy Eat Out to Help Out trading is a reminder of the need to guard against complacency.

The latest data from the ‘We Hear You’ survey, launched by CGA, Yumpingo and UKHospitality to collect the opinions of consumers going out after lockdown, confirms the effectiveness of the sector’s COVID precautions. More than four in five (85%) guests say they have been satisfied with safety measures on their visits.

However, proportions feeling ‘very satisfied’ with precautions fell slightly for the duration of the Eat Out to Help Out campaign—from 64% in the last week of July to between 56% and 58% in each of the four weeks of August. Numbers have picked up again since, and stood at 62% for the second week of September. Net Promoter Scores have recovered too, from a survey low of 46% in mid-August to 53% last week.

The proportion of consumers satisfied with levels of hygiene and cleanliness (96%) and team members’ following of precautions (89%) has remained very high ever since hospitality reopened after lockdown in early July.

The survey confirms that safety remains a top priority, with more than three quarters (78%) of respondents saying they consider precautionary measures when going out to eat or drink. There has been widespread acceptance that precautions have not affected guests’ experiences (61%), or that it is necessary that they do so (34%).

These very high satisfaction scores show that the sector has been working tirelessly to provide the safety precautions that consumers want,” says Charlie Mitchell, CGA’s Research and Insight Director. “With so many restaurants and pubs filled to capacity during the Eat Out to Help Out campaign, it is no surprise to see that scores took a small hit—but that should not detract from the superb work that frontline teams have done to keep their guests secure as well as happy.”

Gary Goodman, CEO and Founder of Yumpingo, says: “The insight clearly outlines the outstanding work of the hospitality industry in reinstating consumer confidence in the safety of eating and drinking out of home. With the Government introducing a new mandatory track and trace requirement for all operators, it’s imperative that businesses seek ways to streamline what is becoming an increasingly congested digital guest experience, so as not to have a detrimental impact on the satisfaction scores generated over recent weeks.”