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Nearly half of consumers in England flock to hospitality venues

Published:  22 April, 2021

Nearly of half (44%) of adults in England have visited pubs, bars and restaurants since they re-opened for outdoor service on the 12 April, beating last year’s rate of return to hospitality following the easing of restrictions after the first lockdown.

According to a new consumer survey conducted yesterday (20 April) by CGA, many are making up for lost time since the on-trade reopened last week.

Since then, consumers who have visited the on-trade have clocked up an average of 2.4 visits to hospitality outlets, while the rate of return at 44% is considerably higher than last July, when just 35% of the adult population made an out-of-home visit within the first ten days of reopening.

Yesterday, we reported that pent up demand delivered a bigger post-lockdown bounce back than 2020, with drinks sales up by 45% on the week of 4 July 2020, when indoor service was also allowed following the first UK lockdown.

Today’s figures show similar encouraging bounce back as overall findings show food and drink sales at open venues running well ahead of July 2020’s levels.

However, data shows some are discouraged by the prosect of weather and crowds.

According to the survey, a significant proportion of non-returners say they are waiting for indoor trading to open, or even for safety measures to end completely, while the majority of hospitality sites in England remained closed, and the sector is still completely shut in Scotland and Wales.

“It’s great to see that consumers have embraced outside eating and drinking in hospitality’s first week back. Pubs, bars and restaurants have worked very hard to make the most of their outside spaces, and the good weather has undoubtedly encouraged a speedy return,” Rachel Weller, CGA’s director of consumer research and marketing, said.

“With four weeks still to go until hospitality can fully return, businesses will be hoping for more sunshine and continued momentum of visits from increasingly confident consumers, while reassuring those who have not yet been out that it is safe to do so.”

The data is from CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey carried out on 20 April. It offers a basis for comparison with last year’s data, which also showed the rate of return during the first ten days following the easing of lockdown restrictions.