Spike In Pub Visits Didn’t Come On 12 April – It Waited For The Rain To Stop

English pubs may have re-opened for outdoor drinks on 12 April, but it was only when the rain eased the following week that we saw a spike in pub visits, according to research* revealed today.

The number of people visiting pubs in England more than doubled from Friday 16 April to Thursday 22 April, from around 16% of the levels we saw in January 2020 to almost 35%. Meanwhile, the average amount of rain in the country was 139.5ml on the Friday and only 0.4ml that following Thursday.

The data also shows that the main increase in pub visits came from low-income and middle-aged drinkers – the number of visits of both demographics at least tripled over that period.

However, the numbers of both going to the pub dropped sharply from 4 May onwards, suggesting that after the initial excitement and flurry of activity from pubs re-opening, those groups are now waiting for the return of indoor seating on 17 May.

The research was carried out by Huq Industries, an alternative data research business, with analysis developed by foodservice industry expert and consultant Peter Backman. It is released daily as the ‘Huq Index for Restaurants & Pubs’, with site-level footfall measured specifically across the UK hospitality industry.

The research also found that the level of footfall to English restaurants stayed broadly stable both before and after outdoor dining returned on 12 April, which suggests that any increase due to the return of on-site diners was offset by fewer delivery drivers coming in to pick up delivery orders.

Peter Backman comments: “Many people around the UK were looking forward to the easing of restrictions on pub visits on 12 April, but the data suggests that it took a week for the expected jump in visits to arrive. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it coincided with the arrival of better weather.

“The lack of a notable spike in restaurant visits when they re-opened suggests that a lot of people physically went to the establishment rather than ordering a home delivery. Our data records visits from both diners and delivery drivers, so a jump in the first was seemingly met by a similar fall in the second.”

The ‘Huq Index for Restaurants & Pubs’ is a daily count of unique panellists from Huq’s mobility data panel who are present across 28,286 UK foodservice outlets – among which 2,990 pubs, 19,799 quick-service (QSR) and 5,497 restaurants. The index shows the change between each daily value and the daily mean of January 2020. This index has been back tested against other relatable indices is reviewed quarterly.