Nearly half of consumers in England have been back to pubs, bars and restaurants since they reopened for outdoor service, new CGA research shows.
The Consumer Pulse survey found that 44% of adults have visited the hospitality sector since last Monday (12 April). The figure is 9 percentage points higher than the 35% of consumers who returned in the first ten days of reopening after the end of England’s first national lockdown in July 2020.
In further signs of enthusiasm for hospitality’s return, people who have been out have made an average of 2.4 visits each, and nearly all said their visit was better than expected (45%) or as expected (52%).
The findings follow separate research from CGA showing food and drink sales at venues that are able to trade have been running well ahead of July 2020’s levels. However, with the majority of hospitality sites in England closed, and the sector still completely shut in Scotland and Wales, total sales remain well below pre-COVID levels.
CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey also suggests some consumers are delaying visits to the On Premise because of doubts about crowds and the weather. More than two in five (42%) say they would have gone out more in the last week if they thought they would be able to get a table without a reservation. Among those who have not yet been back, nearly a third (31%) say it is because they do not want to sit outside. A significant proportion of non-returners are either waiting for indoor seating to become available (16%) or for safety measures to end completely (12%).
Rachel Weller, CGA’s director of consumer research and marketing, said: “It’s great to see that consumers have embraced outside eating and drinking in hospitality’s first week back. Pubs, bars and restaurants have worked very hard to make the most of their outside spaces, and the good weather has undoubtedly encouraged a speedy return. With four weeks still to go until hospitality can fully return, businesses will be hoping for more sunshine and continued momentum of visits from increasingly confident consumers, while reassuring those who have not yet been out that it is safe to do so.”