56% of consumers visited a hospitality venue in the first 10 days after July’s ‘Freedom Day’, almost double the amount that returned following the lifting of lockdown last summer.
New data from UKHospitality survey, supported by CGA, found that whilst people were more keen to get back out to pubs, restaurants and hotels in England and consumer confidence is on the rise, thousands of industry businesses are still struggling compared to pre-pandemic.
After the reopening of venues in July 2020, just 35% returned in the same time frame compared with this year.
However, the survey shows that it took over six weeks for people to return in similar numbers in 2020, and 45% of those who haven’t yet been out saying they plan to do so in the next month.
The figures suggest that this is due to consumer confidence in the extensive hygiene and safety measures put in place by hospitality venues.
Despite this rise in consumer confidence, UKHospitality is warning that the industry remains in a fragile state with businesses fighting for survival on a number of fronts, not least the critical shortage of staff.
The latest ONS figures released earlier this week show UK job vacancies at a record high, with the hospitality sector reporting a 10% vacancy rate – equal to 210,000 roles.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “Eating and drinking out is safe and we encourage everyone to rediscover their favourite venues if they haven’t already. However, while rising customer numbers is welcome news, the hospitality sector is by no means out of the woods.
“Hospitality venues are struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels of revenue with staff shortages hindering their recovery. In order to rebuild, the sector needs the Government to put in place a supportive landscape which includes an extension of the business rates holiday until at least October and a permanently lower rate of VAT for the sector. Such measures will allow the hospitality sector and the people it supports to play a full role in the UK’s economic recovery.”