With the proposed reopening date just one day away, one in four operators plan to open all of their sites during the first week, whilst, on average, operators plan to initially open just three in five sites.
A lack of consumer demand was listed as the key reopening concern for operators (84%), and 75% of respondents based in city and town centres expect consumers to be reluctant to visit them post-lockdown.
Whilst 83% of operators said they were confident in their supply chain, the majority will open with a reduced food (82%) and drinks (41%) menu, with cocktails being the hardest hit category.
Compared to the last leaders poll in April, operators said they feel slightly more optimistic about their business’ prospects – increasing from 15% to 32% - and market optimism also rose (from 5% to 16%).
Despite this modest improvement, 67% of industry bosses believe they will have to lay off some staff, rather than bringing them back from furlough, and workforces are likely to reduce on average by 21%.
Looking at the long-term impact, 44% of businesses expect an increase in home delivery frequency, and 55% said they would priorities it as a core revenue stream.
Just over half (51%) also indicated that technology, particularly order apps, would be a priority moving forward.
“After more than three months in lockdown, operators will be looking forward to welcoming customers back from this weekend, and the government’s reduction of required physical distancing to one metre has provided a significant boost,” said CGA group chief executive Phil Tate.
“But excitement has to be tempered by huge uncertainty about consumer attitudes and trading, and it’s little surprise to see concerns about redundancies, closures and profits.”
“While it’s pleasing that confidence is seeping back into the market, businesses will be anxiously waiting for the ‘new normal’ of eating and drinking out to emerge.”