Coronavirus: Public pledge to spend £3.8bn on hospitality when lockdown lifts

Customers miss going to the pub for a drink. Photo: Getty
Customers miss going to the pub for a drink. Photo: Getty

Consumers have pledged to spend £3.8bn ($4.62) in the first week restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels open post COVID-19 lockdown.

Almost a third are planning to go to the pub within a week of being allowed to, increasing to over half in London, according to a new survey.

The public are keen to support the hospitality sector with 51% of Britons wanting to get "back to normal," says research by Caterer.com.

The survey of more than 2,000 people revealed the things they missed most were seeing friends and family, socialising in restaurants, pubs and bars, going for a pint and barista-made coffee.

Some 24% of men and 13% of women said pubs and restaurants closing had put a strain on their relationship at home.

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The government has suggested that restaurants, pubs and bars may begin to re-open from 4 July. 

And this will be a welcome relief for the 63% of Brits keen to support local hospitality businesses as soon as possible, providing the right safety measures are in place.

Nearly half of people surveyed said they had new-found appreciation of the sector, with 35% pledging to dine out more and 43% planning on tipping more.

The insights from Caterer.com show that 62% of customers would feel comfortable eating in restaurants that occupied every other table only but 70% would avoid buffet-style restaurants until a vaccine is found.

Some customers would even be prepared to pay a premium for enhanced cleaning in restaurants, bars and pubs (41%) and also for social distancing practices (40%).

Neil Pattison, Director at Caterer.com, said: “While measures like having more hand sanitiser available and training staff to introduce new cleaning regimes may be more simply implemented, social distancing measures will mean far fewer customers can be served at one time.

“As a result, there is deep concern about how hospitality businesses will survive economically in the short and long term.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive from UKHospitality added: “Consumer confidence is going to be key once businesses begin to reopen. It is going to be a long, hard road back to normality and venues are going to need the support of their communities."