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‘Distancing’ most important to on-trade guests post-lockdown

Published:  19 June, 2020

Having social distancing measures in place has been revealed to be the key concern for consumers when they return to the on-trade post-lockdown, according to new research released by Hallgarten & Novum Wines today. 

The nationwide research of over 36,000 consumers found that 27% consider social distancing measures as the key factor that will determine when and if they return to hospitality venues. 

Furthermore, when asked what distancing measures consumers would feel “comfortable" with in a venue, 42% responded with 2 metres, 25% with 1.5 metre and 17% with 1 metre.  

The results for level of social distancing were slightly closer in Greater London where 18% voted for a 1 metre gap between tables, 28% for 1.5 metre and 38% preferring a 2 metre distance.

Social distancing measures was seen as the most important factor for those aged 55-64, with the percentage of respondents rising to 28% and lowest at 25% with those aged 25-34. 

Overall, after social distancing, the second most important factor, with 23% of the vote, is the rate of infection, or R-Rate, at the given time, followed by cleanliness of the venue with 18%.

The least important factor in determining whether a consumer would return to hospitality venues was their ‘financial situation’, with 10% of respondents saying this would affect their decision. This however rose to 14% among those aged 25-34.

"While the hospitality industry is desperate to see the government reduce to the WHO recommended 1 metre of social distancing between tables, the survey revealed that many future guests have serious concerns about this reduction”, said Andrew Bewes, MD, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, highlighting how Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, recently said that "at 2 metres you are receiving 30% of your normal revenues, at 1 metre it gets up to 70%. 

“It is evident from this report that we, as suppliers, and the entire hospitality industry needs to work hard to convince future restaurant-goers that 1 metre distancing, in conjunction with other accepted measures, is safe and that they shouldn’t fear visiting venues if the social distancing guidance is reduced to this level,” he said.

When asked which type of venue consumers would be most likely to visit, 34% of respondents answered a ‘pub’, followed by independent restaurants with 29% and chain restaurants with 20%. 

In total, 56% of consumers will be most likely to visit some form of restaurant (independent, chain or fine-dining restaurant) when the lockdown is lifted. The preferred venue type varied by region, with almost 37% in the South-West opting for a pub as their first stop when the lockdown lifts, compared with 31% in Greater London. 

When returning to hospitality venues, the choice of beer or cider was the most popular choice with almost 39% of consumers planning to choose the alcoholic beverage. The second most in-demand beverage was wine, with over 25% looking to buy a glass or bottle when their favourite venue re- opens. This percentage rose in Greater London, where over 27% were looking to order wine.

The research was conducted in partnership with