UK Hospitality Industry Fears The New ‘Ignormal’ As 37% Of Hospitality Venues Find That Some Patrons Ignore New Rules

Sanitiser confused with condiment, implementation of ‘slip roads’ in one way systems and bouncers becoming welcomers are among cultural changes in pubs, restaurants and bars.

74% say that non-compliance with new rules and etiquette are their biggest fear.

Consumer expectations of a complete return to ‘business as usual’ are the biggest fear for restaurants, bars and pubs, according to a study by

The contactless services provider to the hospitality industry found that pub, bar and restaurant owners were worried about striking the right balance between opening for business and tightening up on processes to reduce risks of infection.

A poll of more than 1,000 catering establishments found that owners and staff were worried about implementing changes in etiquette for customers – and of the risks of customers reverting to old pre-pandemic behaviours.

One pub owner said that she was concerned that patrons might revert to the “World War Z scale-the-walls drinks ordering system” as people reacclimatise to an evening at the pub.

The majority (63%) said that they had been pleased with customer reactions to new processes, including table service, restricted access to bathrooms, prepayment in restaurants and app-based ordering systems,, but a significant minority had found it difficult to get customers to adopt new safer behaviours.

Seventy-four percent said that non-compliance with new etiquette and rules were their biggest fear.

Tom Messett, founder of, said: “We’re all heartily fed up with the phrase, ‘the new normal’, but we should really be worried about the new ‘ignormal’, habitual customers who find it difficult to comply with important new safety measures.  There are simple ways of being safe and there are plenty of benefits for guests, including better, faster service and less time spent queueing.”

Respondents were also asked to identify the behavioural changes they’d noticed as restrictions had eased:

  1. “Someone mistook sanitiser for a condiment in my café.”
  2. “People who order an open chips often find that the mask gets between their first chip and their mouth.”
  3. “We’ve asked our bouncer to wear colourful, looser-fitting clothes and we’re getting him a ‘welcomer’ badge.”
  4. “A bit of light-hearted confusion about the new ordering and paying process.”
  5. “Bigger tips, which has been brilliant, and real appreciation for what we’re offering.”
  6. “More talk between tables.  The restaurant feels like an even more social place.”
  7. “A bit more ‘air traffic control’ around the bathrooms, but all in good humour.”
  8. “A few teething problems with the one-way system.  We’ve put in the odd ‘slip road’ to fix it.”
  9. “Mask wearers at the same table chatting by text.”
  10. “Spare masks used as phone hammocks while charging.”