Super Saturday – How Busy Was The UK Hospitality Sector?

‘Super Saturday’ on 4th July saw footfall across the UK hospitality sector recover to just 21% of pre-Covid levels, up from 17% the previous Saturday. The insight from Huq Industries measures footfall across 23,035 restaurants, quick-service outlets (QSR) and pubs UK-wide, based on mobile phone geo-location data.

Only a limited number of restaurants were open for dine-in from 4th July, and the small weekly rise in activity across hospitality can be ascribed to a step-change in footfall that began in late May. Mobile data shows a combination of takeaway visits, delivery driver pick-ups and the presence of staff preparing outlets for opening on Super Saturday. Quite simply, the opportunity that was newly available on 4th July for customers to dine-in at hospitality outlets has yet to translate into a meaningful increase in visits.

The data comes from the ‘Huq Index for Restaurants & Pubs’, which offers a daily update on site-level footfall specifically across the UK hospitality industry. It contrasts with other more conventional sources that measure pedestrian footfall into retail destinations and high streets as a whole, as a means of identifying trends in hospitality footfall.Further analysis of individual categories supports Huq’s analysis:

  • QSR has recovered to 26% of pre-Covid levels, up 2% from Saturday 27th June
  • Restaurants stand at 18% of pre-Covid levels, up 2%
  • Pubs stand at 14% of pre-Covid levels, up 4%

    That QSR (including McDonald’s, Greggs, KFC, Domino’s and others) leads restaurants and pubs by 11% shows that dine-in has yet to make an impact.

Commenting on the results, food services expert Peter Backman said: “On Saturday 4th July the Huq Index stood at 21.0. While this is the highest reading since the start of the lockdown, it barely budged from the previous few days and is way off the pre-lockdown reading of over 100. This sluggish performance is in line with other, anecdotal evidence from restaurants. The Huq Index has been trending upwards since early June but this reflects the opening up of restaurants for take away and delivery. The hoped-for surge on Saturday did not materialise and the restaurant sector still has a mountain to climb.”

Conrad Poulson, CEO Huq added: “While headlines would like us to believe that footfall into hospitality outlets is surging, the picture our data reveals may unfortunately not be as positive.  Although total high street footfall has risen this does not yet appear to be translating into many more visits to pubs and restaurants.”