Opening weekend business down 44.5% for on-trade

Bars, pubs and restaurants that reopened last week in England reported a 44.5% decrease in trading compared to the same weekend last year, new research shows.

According to the most recent Coffer Peach Business Tracker information, 36% of group-operated venues opened for eating and drinking inside on 4 and 5 July, as government lockdown restrictions were lifted across England.

A total of 32 companies provided data for the report, with a further 17 operators reporting they have not yet reopened any sites.

Karl Chissell is the director of CGA, the businesses insight consultancy firm that produces the Tracker report in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

He said: “When bars and restaurants began to reopen in the US during May, it was only after a couple of weeks that sales reached 54% of pre-Covid levels, according to data from Nielsen CGA, our Chicago-based research business.

“It is going to take time for the trade to return but this provides a foundation on which to build consumer confidence and adapt and improve operations.”

Consumer confidence falls in US

In the US, Nielsen surveyed 1,600 consumers from 3-5 July in California, Texas, New York and Florida. The findings showed 14% of those questioned have been to an on-premise venue for a drink in the past two weeks.

However, the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the US has caused concern among consumers, with 61% choosing to not go out at all, while 27% remained unaffected and 12% chose to visit a different venue.

In regards to takeaway and delivery services, 11% ordered alcohol over the last two weeks, compared to 65% who ordered food.

Tequila continued to be the base-spirit of choice when it came to takeaway cocktails, with 63% of those who had ordered a cocktail for delivery or with a takeaway citing Tequila as their spirit of choice.

Looking to the next two weeks, Nielsen said 15% plan to go to bars and restaurants for a drink, while 32% intend to visit for food. Nielsen said this was lower than the analyst’s previous predictions, which could be due to the reintroduction of lockdown measures in some states.

For example, California ordered several bars to close due to a resurgence in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Matthew Crompton, client solutions director, Nielsen CGA, said: “Consumer sentiment continues to differ in the on-premise channel as various states employ differing restrictions on the reopening of bars and restaurants.

“Safety naturally remains absolutely paramount for both staff and visitors, and in most cases on-premise establishments have risen to the challenge, as 85% of consumers are satisfied with the health and safety measures in place.

“Our latest research also shows that older age groups are beginning to feel comfortable again in re-entering the channel. Menus will need to remain relevant so that all age groups are catered for to encourage repeat visits.”

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Author: Melita Kiely {authorlink}