Pub reopenings outstrip restaurants

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs leading the way: pubs have been more likely to reopen than restaurant businesses, according to data from CGA
Pubs leading the way: pubs have been more likely to reopen than restaurant businesses, according to data from CGA

Related tags: Coronavirus, Legislation, Branding + marketing, Food

Pubs are leading the way in hospitality sector reopenings despite only two thirds of licensed premises resuming trade before the end of July.

Just 62% of pubs and bars in Britain had reopened by the end of July after months of closure to limit the spread of coronavirus - equating to close to 71,000 from a potential of almost 114,500 businesses.

Overall more pubs had reopened than restaurants, according to the Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners. The data stated that some 87% of food-led pubs and 84% of high street pubs had reopened.

In contrast, just over half (56%) of full-service restaurants and 63% of casual dining restaurants have opened, with some big names announcing plans to close sites in the weeks ahead.

Uneven picture

The figures also revealed a stark difference in the rate of independent licensed premises reopening in comparison to those run by larger operators, with only 52% open at the end of last month in comparison to 75% of group-managed sites.

Sites in London have also been slow to reopen in comparison to other parts of England. While almost three quarters (73%) of sites were back open in the North East and South West of England, this figure was just 61% in London. 

A drop in people commuting to work and tourists visiting the capital has resulted in many businesses in previous hotspots remaining closed.

The South and South East were the areas with most licensed premises open.

Scottish and Welsh venues also saw reopening figures trailing given they were given the green light to reopen to later than English pubs. Scotland recorded opening numbers of 59% while Wales saw 34%.

Consumer confidence

Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA said: “This new data makes it clear that hospitality’s road to recovery will be long.” 

“It is encouraging to see so many pubs back up and running soon after the end of lockdown, but that is in sharp contrast to the casual dining restaurant sector—especially in city centres, where footfall remains well below pre-Covid levels as shoppers, diners and drinkers opt to stay closer to home.

"The Eat Out To Help Out scheme and staycation trend will both hopefully encourage more city and town restaurants to return over August."

He added: “However, much will now depend on consumer confidence and pandemic restrictions. The number one challenge for businesses is to respond to people’s concerns and demonstrate that they can have a safe and enjoyable experience when they go out to eat and drink. If they can achieve that, we can expect to see site and trading numbers increase over the summer and autumn.”

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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