A new study has shown that some diners across the UK are not confident about returning to their favourite venues.
The study was carried out by SevenRooms and revealed that half (51%) of UK consumers believe they are generally more cautious than their friends and family when it comes to visiting pubs, bars and restaurants.
The ‘COVID Confidence Report’, which polled a representative sample of 2,214 UK consumers through YouGov, indicates the varied impact a second round of closures could have on guest confidence when venues reopen, showing how hospitality operators need to adapt and cater to a wider range of dining personas and experiences post-pandemic:
• Cautiously Committed: 1 in 4 (26%) diners said they would only book a restaurant that they had been to previously, and only once they felt comfortable enough with the existing COVID-related plans and procedures to do so
• Safety Savvy: 18% would only book with venues where they felt confident in the health and safety measures put in place after it has been reopened for a month, while 15% wouldn’t book until longer than a month after reopening
• Delivery Devotees: For 13% of diners, contactless delivery will be the favoured option over going to a restaurant when local lockdowns are lifted
• Carefree Connoisseurs: 10% of UK consumers would book a restaurant as soon as restrictions were lifted no matter what, while 8% would do so but only with restaurants they had visited previously
The study also examines the issue of venue ‘no shows’, revealing that half (51%) of UK consumers say that nothing would prevent them from turning up for a booking and failing to cancel. However, COVID-19-related safety worries are a notable driving force behind others failing to honour a reservation:
• Social distancing – more than 1 in 4 (27%) UK consumers would no show if a venue looked crowded, while 22% would be put off if tables weren’t spaced two metres apart
• Local infection rates – for a quarter (24%), an increase in infections in the local area would cause them to no show
• Health and safety – more than 1 in 5 (23%) wouldn’t show up if they read reviews ahead of a booking and saw negative comments regarding the venue’s approach to health and safety, while 18% would be put off if a venue didn’t meet a guest’s safety standards – even if that venue was adhering to government guidelines
• Last-minute decision-makers – just 3% admit that they would no show as a result of making multiple bookings and then deciding last-minute on where to go
With face coverings now mandatory for all hospitality staff in the UK, the report reveals that such safety measures are a fundamental part of many guests’ comfort and enjoyment of the overall restaurant experience. Poor adherence to the rules could impact diners’ longer-term view of an establishment and put revenues at risk:
Danilo Mangano, General Manager Europe at SevenRooms, comments: “With restrictions being reintroduced in certain areas of the country, operators need to ensure they are equipped to meet the evolving customer needs that come with these new rules and regulations.
“While consumers are evidently craving on-premise experiences, they are also understandably cautious, which has a large impact on their behaviour as they return to dining out. Operators need to show guests that they understand and have the systems in place to respond to their changing wants and needs. They can do most effectively by continuing to leverage data insights to personalise offerings that make guests feel confident in their experiences, whether they are ordering delivery or making a reservation.”