Consumers choose pubs and restaurants over bars

20th July, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

During the first 10 days of the on-trade reopening in England consumers favoured returning to pubs and restaurants rather than bars, according to new research.

Spirits Bottles

The on-trade in England was allowed to reopen on 4 July

CGA’s Consumer Pulse poll of 500 adults in England revealed that more than a third (35%) of consumers visited pubs, bars and restaurants between 4 July and 14 July. More than half of them visited pubs (54%) ­– ahead of both restaurants (46%) and bars (26%).

Younger adults made up more than half of those who went out during the 10-day period with 55% of 25- to 34-year-olds visiting an on-trade venue, while 46% of people aged between 18 and 24 took a trip to a pub, bar or restaurant.

Four in five of those who headed out are planning another visit in either the next week (57%) or the next fortnight (23%).

Of those who did visit a pub, bar or restaurant, 34% cited a drinks-led occasion while 20% consumed only food during their visit. Just under half (46%) had both food and drinks during their visit.

The average consumer spend on drinks per head was £16.14 (US$20.40), while £21.90 (US$27.70) was spent on food per head.

More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers travelled no further than 20 minutes to eat or drink out.

Of those who haven’t yet visited an on-trade venue, nearly half (46%) said they don’t feel safe in close proximity to strangers, and 41% said they don’t feel safe enough to go out in general yet.

As the UK government’s new Eat Out to Help Out scheme begins in August, two in five of those who haven’t visited any hospitality sites said they are very or somewhat likely to use the scheme, which gives people a discount of up to 50% when eating food or drinking soft drinks in participating venues. However, alcohol has been excluded from the scheme.

“Our Consumer Pulse data confirms what we expected ahead of reopening: that although some people are returning to pubs, bars and restaurants with gusto, it will take a while to persuade others to come out,” said Rachel Weller, CGA’s head of consumer research and marketing.

“Industry campaigns like We Hear You and the government’s VAT cut and Eat Out to Help Out initiative should help, and early returners will hopefully start to spread the message that it is safe to eat and drink out. We’ll all be hoping that visits gather momentum over the summer, and CGA will be working hard to identify what consumers need to see and hear to be encouraged back to hospitality.”

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