The poll of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults conducted by Caterer.com has found that over half (51%) of Britons are keen for hospitality to get ‘back to normal’, with 42% having a new-found appreciation of the sector.
Almost a third (31%) of consumers says they are planning to go to the pub within a week of being allowed to do so, increasing to over half (53%) in London, and 30% plan to dine out within a week of restaurants reopening.
“While this has been an incredibly painful time for the sector, it’s encouraging to see the public have a huge appreciation for what the hospitality sector provides to communities,” says Neil Pattison, director at Caterer.com. “There is strong appetite to support these businesses and workers in getting back on their feet.”
The research reveals 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, with 62% saying they would feel comfortable eating in restaurants that occupied every other table only and 55% saying they would rather hospitality businesses only allowed groups of up to four people per table.
The research also shows that 41% of customers are even be prepared to pay a premium for enhanced cleaning in restaurants, bars and pubs with 54% of respondents believing that hand sanitiser should be provided for all customers and staff and 47% saying they would like all staff to be trained on a new cleaning protocol.
In terms of other measures hospitality businesses should introduce post lockdown, 36% of people think social distancing managers should be implemented; 22% think that all staff should wear PPE; and 18% think they should be able to order their meals digitally.
Buffet-style restaurants have more measures to consider, however, with the poll revealing that 70% of people would avoid buffet-style restaurants until a vaccine is found. These figures support the call from the sector for additional support from the government in order to make operation financially viable, says Caterer.com.
The consumer research has also found that people would like the Government to provide more support to the hospitality sector, with two thirds (67%) of consumers believe the government should provide support to hospitality businesses that need it in order to survive, such as Hospitality Union’s #NationalTimeOut campaign.
“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,” says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, commenting on the results.
“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.”