Pubs and restaurants have reported a huge surge in bookings for outdoor tables after the announcement of hospitality reopening from 12 April, as new research from Caterer.com finds more than 4.7 million people are making reservations for the first two weeks.
Following four months of lockdown and time away from hospitality venues, the survey reveals that as much as £2.4bn could be injected into the economy in the first month that it reopens, with people planning on splashing out an average of £167 in the first month to make up for lost time.
For many people (34%), pubs, restaurants and hotels being closed has been one of the hardest things about lockdown and over a quarter (29%) of people say not being able to experience hospitality has affected their mental health.
Neil Pattison, Director at Caterer.com, hospitality’s online recruitment solutions partner, said: “Hospitality businesses have been unfairly subjected to tighter restrictions than other sectors throughout the pandemic and our research shows just how eager people are to get back into hospitality venues. As we’ve seen over the last year, businesses have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of customers. Many have remodelled to allow for more outdoor space enabling them to remain open within safety guidelines. The recovery of the sector is crucial to the wider economy of the UK and at Caterer.com we’re already seeing green shoots appear with more jobs being advertised as businesses gear up for reopening and the prospect of a busy summer – we’re not alone in saying we can’t wait for the sector to reopen!”
The insights from Caterer.com reveal that the majority of people in the UK (56%) think that hospitality venues have higher cleanliness and Covid-19 safety precautions than other industries and public spaces, such as supermarkets.
Nearly a third (32%) of people think the hospitality sector should be allowed to re-open indoors sooner than the 17th May.
Since the 22 February roadmap announcements, Caterer.com has seen job adverts increase by 84% as businesses prepare to meet demand for people eager to make up for lost time. Data from the job board reveals that there has been significant rise in vacancies right across the UK, with the fastest growth in vacancies coming from Wales with a 103% increase between February and March, followed by the South East (97%), North West (94%) and South West (83%).
Hospitality businesses around the country are reporting an influx in bookings ahead of the public being able to get back to enjoying hospitality. Matt Fleming, MD of Vagabond Wines, commented: “Vagabond has seen a fantastic response since we reopened our bookings. Not only have we already booked out a large percentage of all our spaces, but the uplift in pre-booked packages and wine flights has been very strong too, suggesting a large number of people are ready to get out and have exciting experiences once again.”