According to data collated by pay-at-table app OrderPay, in the first week post-lockdown (2-9 December) sales were on average just a quarter of pre-lockdown levels, with many businesses missing out on what would be one of the busiest periods of the year.
Across the two-week post-lockdown period (2-15 December), average sales recovered somewhat but were still one third down on the period before lockdown came into force, it says.
Average spend per customer visit, meanwhile, fell 10% compared to the previous periods with the average time customers spending in venue falling by about a fifth. This highlights the impact of the ‘substantial meal’ rule meaning customers aren't permitted to stay for an extra round or two of drinks to prolong the occasion, says OrderPay.
“Sales were already badly suppressed heading into lockdown and these figures show the first two weeks of December trading have been horrific for operators,” says Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality.
“Our sector has taken the hardest hit throughout the pandemic; so many pubs and other hospitality businesses have invested to make their venues safe, and are only just clinging on by the skin of their teeth.
“The burden of the tier restrictions falls almost exclusively on these businesses and pushes them closer towards failure.”
The data, aggregated from OrderPay’s network of pubs and bars across the country, analysed the first two weeks of trading for pubs within its network since lockdown lifted (2 December) and compared it to the period pre-lockdown in October as well as the period since mandatory table service was introduced in late September.
“We know that the festive period is usually the busiest time of year for pubs as people come together to socialise and celebrate. But this year things are very different and it’s clear from our data that the restrictions are hitting pubs hard and resulting in a staggering amount of lost sales - for individual operators and across the industry as a whole,” says Richard Carter, co-founder of OrderPay.
“As well as the revenue hit, there is also the negative impact on staff who are missing out on potential customer tips and extra take-home pay.”