Two in five British venues can offer outdoor service

29th March, 2021 by Owen Bellwood

Fewer than 40% of bars and pubs in Great Britain have outside space that could be used to seat guests, according to new data released ahead of the reopening of outdoor hospitality.

Just two in five venues in Britain have space to offer outdoor drinking

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England could reopen for outdoor service on 12 April, provided targets on Covid-19 cases and vaccines are met. Indoor hospitality cannot resume until 17 May at the earliest.

Ahead of the reopening of the on-trade in England, researchers found that 41,100 premises in Britain have outdoor spaces such as gardens, terraces, car parks or other areas that could be used to accommodate guests. The figure accounts for 38.2% of all licensed premises in Britain.

The Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners found that 51.1% of venues in the south west of England have space for outdoor seating, while just 33.1% of venues in London have capacity for outside drinking.

In Wales, where the hospitality sector can resume outdoor service on 22 April, two in five venues have outside space.

In Scotland, where venues may open outdoors from 26 April, just 22.9% of venues have the capability to offer outdoor seating.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “With huge pent-up demand for hospitality and consumers’ confidence rising, outside trading could give sales a useful kickstart – but there are a lot of variables at play.

“Pubs with beer gardens will be popular if the sun shines, but some restaurants may find it harder to recoup the costs of reopening, especially if the April weather isn’t favourable. Well over half of licensed premises have no space at all in which to trade, though they could yet reopen in April if local authorities take a proactive approach and open up street space to serve on.”

Earlier this month, the UK government agreed to extend pavement licences to allow more bars to serve drinks outdoors.

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