Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

On-trade visits to drop sharply following new restrictions

Published:  28 September, 2020

Consumers will significantly reduce their visits to pubs, bars and restaurants in the light of the new government restrictions introduced last Thursday, according to new CGA research. 

The restrictions, which include a 10pm closure order and mandatory table service, would however not end socialising with “many” planning to continue mingling elsewhere after the curfew, revealed CGA’s Consumer Pulse Survey, conducted following the announcement of the new rules last week.

Two in five (40%) respondents said they would go out less often as a result of the measures – nearly three times as many as those who will go out more frequently (14%).

Tighter regulations were set to have the biggest impact on consumers that have been slow to return to hospitality – especially those in older age groups, while the new regulations appeared less likely to affect the behaviour of previously regular visitors, who largely indicated they would maintain their frequency, said CGA.

But the curfew might not have the government’s desired effect of reducing late-night contact, the survey suggested, with a third (34%) of British adults saying they would be likely to invite friends back to their house after 10pm, and nearly as many (30%) admitting they would seek out alternative locations to continue socialising.

“Our survey shows that having been encouraged out to restaurants, pubs and bars in August, large numbers of consumers are now likely to retreat. The new restrictions deal a major blow to operators who had got back on their feet after lockdown, and to city-centre and late-night operators in particular,” said Charlie Mitchell, CGA’s research & insight director.

“With so many people signalling they will simply switch their socialising elsewhere, rather than in the hygienic environments that operators have worked so hard to create, these measures may not even have much beneficial impact. Businesses have responded nimbly to all the restrictions that have been placed on them so far, and will now be finding more innovative ways to sustain trade without compromising guests’ safety.”

The Consumer Pulse Survey also indicated the measures may have further important impacts on behaviour, including shorter visits and an even greater reluctance to visit city centres. 

Among people who often go out late, three quarters said they would either stay for a shorter length of time (43%) or stay away in the late evening completely (34%). Of those who typically visit city centres, half (48%) said they are now less likely to visit venues – much more than those in rural areas (29%).

The regulations may also spread visits more evenly across the week – continuing a pattern of behaviour set in August by the popularity of the Monday-to-Wednesday Eat Out to Help Out promotion, with two in five (41%) consumers who previously went out on Saturdays saying they are less likely to do so now, compared to 29% of weekday visitors.

The Consumer Pulse data is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 British adults on Tuesday 22 September.