Huge sales boost for hospitality after indoor dining resumes

Pubs and restaurants have reported a huge sales boost after reopening following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Such enthusiasm and dynamism makes for happy reading.

Data from research consultancy CGA found that reopened managed venues’ average sales were 24.9 per cent higher than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019. Yes, 2019 – not 2020. This is a real jump. (Although, admittedly, a Monday night two years ago wasn’t quite as much an occasion for going out as it is this year).

Food sales increased 29.6 per cent in England and Wales and drinks sales were up by 21.2 per cent. After a challenging April which saw the industry open outside, where the wind and rain put guests off and disrupted the meals of those willing to venture out.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK & Ireland, said: “Consumers have been waiting a very long time to get back inside restaurants, pubs and bars, and Monday’s trading was a sign of how much Britain’s hospitality industry has been missed.

“Venues still face some tough restrictions, and in the case of late night bars, nightclubs and venues with limited space, remain closed completely. After a very difficult start to 2021, Monday was a very welcome step on the roadmap to recovery, however, there is still a long way to go and continued support for the sector will be necessary.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “These numbers are a welcome reminder that the sector is much-loved by its customers and Monday was the first time many venues had opened since December – five long, hard months with no revenue.

“As we’ve seen previously, we often see a reopening bounce in sales, followed by a dip, so we hope these positive figures continue in the coming weeks. It is critical that government restores consumer confidence in hospitality and restores our ability to trade profitably by removing all restrictions on June 21 as planned – let’s not forget that all of these businesses which are open are still making a loss until they do.”

A British Beer & Pub Association spokesperson said: “This is an encouraging first day back for trade inside our pubs, but there is long way to go yet, and the coming months are critical.

“Continued support from pub goers by visiting their local, as well as the full removal of restrictions in pubs, are vital if pubs are to survive heading out of the pandemic and after more than a year of enforced closure or crippling restrictions.”

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