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Approval rating of ‘new look’ on-trade reaches 94%

Published:  27 July, 2020

The vast majority of consumers who have visited pubs, restaurants and bars in England in the two weeks since reopening have been satisfied with safety measures and their overall experience, a new survey has revealed.

Backed by UKHospitality and CGA, the survey found that 94% of punters breaking their lockdown since July 4 were satisfied with their experience of visiting a re-imagined on-trade. That number rises to 96% when asked if they would be likely to recommend a visit to friends and family.

While 48% of customers accept their eating and drinking out experience feels ‘different’, it is reassuringly so, according to responses via the new ‘We hear you’ initiative, designed to gauge consumer feedback and identify ways to increase consumer confidence and footfall.

The responses reveal that around 65% of customers had visited more than one venue since re-opening. From the 4,866 customers who provided feedback, 52% felt that their experience was not compromised by safety precautions. Of those that felt their experience was compromised, 88% understood that the precautions were necessary.

“We know the next six months will be crucial for hospitality and survival will depend on a concerted and joint effort from everyone within the industry,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, said.

“We’ve worked closely with the government to ensure safe venues upon re-opening and the ‘We hear you’ tool, with help from operators, will ensure their customers are happy, comfortable and more importantly confident that the industry is listening and doing what it can to make them feel safe.”

‘We hear you’ has been launched in tandem with guest insights platform Yumpingo, with support from trade body UKHospitality and data and research consultancy CGA. It aims to track the real-time monitoring of customer sentiment via a variety of data-collection methods such as QR codes, integration with wi-fi and order and pay platforms.

The research confirms that the level of protection put in place by operators is an important factor when it comes to how confident consumers feel, with 77% of diners stating that they considered the precautionary measures being taken before visiting a venue. Nearly half admitted to pre-visit nerves.

The majority of those that have eaten out since establishments re-opened have stuck to places they know well, with just 14% of consumers trying new places. However, 91% stated that their overall experience made them feel reassured enough to visit again.

The scheme’s partners are now urging operators to sign up for the free service to help paint a picture of consumer confidence nationally. Well-known brands YO! Sushi, Zizzi, Loungers, Robinsons Brewery, Pizza Express and LEON have already signed up, with ‘several thousand’ consumers already having provided real-time reviews of their experience and giving valuable insight for operators ahead of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August.