Social Distancing Measures Most Important to Guests Post-Lockdown
In a drive to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector and ensure the business is providing the best possible support to its partners in the on-trade, Hallgarten & Novum Wines has commissioned a nationwide survey of over 36,000 consumers.
Conducted in partnership with Findoutnow.co.uk, the exclusive survey has revealed that 27% of respondents consider ‘social distancing measures’ as the key factor that will determine when and if they return to hospitality venues. The second most important factor to consumers, 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%.
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. 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% with those aged 25-34.
Looking to understand the general public’s perception of hospitality businesses when many are able to re-open their doors, Hallgarten & Novum Wines is gearing up to be able to facilitate their partners in the on-trade with wines from its award-winning portfolio.
Furthermore, when asked what distancing measures consumers would feel ‘comfortable’ with in a venue, 42% of responded with ‘2 metre’. 25% answered ‘1.5m’ and 17% answered ‘1 metre’, the latter of which is being suggested by many parts of the trade as the desired solution.
The results for level of social distancing were slightly closer in Greater London 18% voted for a ‘1 metre’ gap between tables, 28% for ‘1.5 metre’ and 38% preferring a ‘2 metre’ distance.
When asked which type of venue consumers would be most likely to visit, 34% of respondents answered with 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.
Hallgarten Managing Director, Andrew Bewes comments: “We are looking forward to the on-trade opening up as much as everybody else in the industry, however, this report concludes that the general public does have concerns with regards to how operators resume business.
“Whilst it has become very clear that the hospitality industry is desperate to see the Government reduce to the WHO recommended one metre of social distancing between tables, this survey does reveal that many future guests have serious concerns about this reduction. Kate Nicholls, of UK Hospitality, recently stated that ‘at two metres you are receiving 30% of your normal revenues, at one 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 one 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.
“The last few months have been hugely positive for wine sales in the off-trade and we are looking forward to the UK’s hospitality venues opening up and offering wine to those that are demanding it. It has been a long struggle for the industry but there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and providing we handle the demands of consumers well, we will all come out of this fighting!”