Catering Scotland Research Reveals Anticipation For Bullish Hospitality Return

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May 22
09:20 2020

With the UK government alluding that restaurants, pubs and bars may begin to gradually restart in July, research by has revealed that customers could spend nearly £4bn in hospitality in the first week of re-opening.

The UK public’s wish to dine out or have a trip away with the family could inject as much as £3.8bn** into the economy within a week of lock-down measures easing. The new research shows that the majority of Brits (63%) are keen to support local hospitality businesses as soon as possible, providing the right safety measures are in place.

The survey of more than 2,000 people revealed that 42% of respondents have a new-found appreciation of the sector and 51% are eager for hospitality businesses to ‘get back to normal’*.

In fact, almost a third (31%) of consumers are planning to go to the pub within a week of being allowed to do so, while 30% plan to dine out within a week of restaurants opening.

The insights from show that 62% of Britons would feel comfortable eating in restaurants that occupied every other table only, while 55% would rather hospitality businesses allowed groups of up to four people per table.

However, around 70% of people would avoid buffet-style restaurants until a vaccine is approved, highlighting the sector’s call for additional government support in order to make operations financially viable.

Tellingly, consumers would be prepared to pay a premium for enhanced cleaning in restaurants, bars and pubs (41%) and also for social distancing practices (40%). Other suggestions include:

  • 54% of customers think hand sanitiser should be provided for all customers and staff
  • 47% would like all staff to be trained on a new cleaning protocol
  • 36% think social distancing managers should be implemented
  • 22% think that all staff should wear PPE
  • 18% think that digital meal ordering should be introduced
  • 42% of respondents have a new-found appreciation of the hospitality sector
  • 35% have pledged to dine out more
  • 43% plan on tipping more than they would have, pre-lock-down

Interestingly, two thirds (67%) of consumers believe the government should provide support to hospitality businesses. Several initiatives are currently being spearheaded by leading bodies within the industry, from Hospitality Union’s #NationalTimeOut campaign, asking for a nine-month rent free period, to UKHospitality’s six-point plan to help the hospitality sector recover.

Neil Pattison

Neil Pattison, Director at (pictured left), said: ‘It’s encouraging to see the public have a huge appreciation for what the hospitality sector provides to communities. There is strong appetite to support these businesses and workers in getting back on their feet.

‘That said, while new cleaning regimes may be more simply implemented, social distancing measures will mean far fewer customers can be served at any one time. As a result, there is deep concern about how businesses will survive in the short- and long-term. We are grateful for the government’s support to date but there is still much more work to be done and it’s vital that this continues.’

Kate Nicholls

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality (pictured right), added: ‘It’s encouraging to see that so many people are eager to support hospitality businesses, and consumer confidence is going to be key once businesses begin to reopen. If the Government wants to boost confidence further they can help us provide safe venues by cutting hospitality VAT, one of the objectives in our #Fair4Hospitality campaign.’’s research also reveals that customers have been doing what they can to help local hospitality operators that have been forced to close during the lock-down, by buying takeaways (28%), food parcels (9%) and gift vouchers (5%). Some 3.6m people have already started booking their Christmas party or meals out to help businesses with cash flow.

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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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