Consumer confidence in eating and drinking out remains high despite Omicron spread

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer confidence in eating and drinking out remains high despite Omicron spread

Related tags: Omicron, Hospitality, Cga

Consumer confidence in eating and drinking out remains high despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, according to new research from CGA.

More than two thirds (70%) of people now feel confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants – more than double the number at the start of 2021 (34%) and a sharp increase on the total of 52% from CGA’s research in July – its Consumer Pulse survey has found.

The research of 2,000 nationally representative consumers does, however, reveal that anxiety about Covid-19 remains, with more than half (55%) of consumers worried about Omicron and two thirds (67%) concerned about a further peak in infections.

The hospitality sector’s efforts to reassure guests have proven to be effective, according to CGA, with nearly three quarters (71%) of people saying that they feel ‘very’ or ‘quite’ safe on their last visits—a slight increase from July’s total of 69%.

Consumers are also keen to support a sector that has been heavily impacted by Covid-19. Seventy per cent say they are worried that venues may not survive the pandemic, while 62% say they are actively supporting local hospitality businesses.

There are signs that footfall should increase in the months ahead, with 19% of consumers planning to visit venues more often than they did in the previous year and 33% saying they will increase their frequency of visits after the end of January.

However, 17% of respondents said they will make fewer visits to hospitality venues this year.

“After a very tough Christmas, these numbers are a welcome reminder of the huge underlying appeal of Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants. Having missed out on so many hospitality occasions in 2021, and with concerns about safety easing, we can be cautiously optimistic that spending will rebound as the year goes on,” says CGA’s group CEO Phil Tate.

Some customers will remain anxious about going out, with hygiene and cleanliness likely to be important drivers of visits for some time to come, according to CGA.

“Some hospitality businesses remain vulnerable after enduring nearly two years of very challenging trading conditions,” adds Tate.

“But this is a resilient and resourceful industry, and with the right support from government it is well placed to drive Britain’s economic recovery in 2022 and thrive in the long run.”

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