‘Prices will be kept the same’ say 50% of pubs in poll

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Higher or lower? Most pubs will keep menu prices the same
Higher or lower? Most pubs will keep menu prices the same

Related tags Coronavirus

The majority of operators asked in a weekly hospitality poll have said they plan to keep their food and drink prices the same as before lockdown, while half also said they expected trade levels to reach no more than 40% of pre-coronavirus levels in the first four weeks of reopening.

As England’s pub trade moves closer to a tentative reopening date of 4 July, many operators are considering what the state of their businesses will look like when it is time to allow punters through the doors again.

According to the latest Hospitality Leaders Poll by MCA Insight/HIM, which asked 438 hospitality bosses – including 278 pub leaders – 52% of pubs don’t expect trade to exceed more than 40% of their usual capacity in the first month of reopening.

Two thirds of normal levels

A further 28% believed trade could reach two thirds of its normal levels, 6% said it could approach 80% and 14% said they didn’t know what to expect.

Meanwhile, the majority of pub operators asked said they were unlikely to increase food and drink prices.

When asked about drinks price increases, 3% of the 278 pub respondents said they would lower prices, 13% said they were unsure what to do, 28% said they would raise prices and 56% said they wouldn’t adjust them.

Planning increases

A similar sentiment followed for food, with 4% planning increases, 26% not knowing, 20% planning to increase and 50% saying they would be kept the same.

Next, operators were asked if they would check the temperatures of customers before allowing them onto the premises.

Operators answered this question with an overwhelming majority of 69% saying they would not test customers’ temperatures for reasons including it being the responsibility of the customer, it would cost too much or it would be impractical to manage.

The full data from MCA Insight/HIM can be seen below:

Will drinks prices:

  • Decrease – 3%
  • Don’t know – 13%
  • Increase – 28%
  • Same – 56%

Will food prices:

  • Decrease – 4%
  • Don’t know – 26%
  • Increase – 20%
  • Same – 50%

What percentage of trade are you expecting in the first four weeks of reopening, compared to pre-coronavirus?

  • 17% said: 20% or less
  • 35% said: 21% – 40%
  • 28% said: 41% – 60%
  • 6% said: 61% – 80%
  • 14% said: Don’t know

Would you consider introducing temperature checks for customers?

  • Yes – 16%
  • No – because it’s the customer’s responsibility – 10%
  • No – because of cost – 11%
  • No – it will be impractical – 45%
  • No – I don’t understand the science – 3%
  • Not sure – 15%

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