While more than a quarter (29%) of Brits quizzed by global intelligence platform Streetbees claimed they are less likely to go to a pub, bar or restaurant with the 10pm curfew in place, two thirds (67%) said their appetite for eating and drinking out remained undiminished by the prospect of an early exit.
The findings come after a number of pub operators told The Morning Advertiser (The MA) the 10pm curfew had led to them calling last orders as early as 9.15pm, offering less time conscious customers takeaway boxes and plastic glasses for unfinished food and drink and changing their table booking windows.
However, according to analysis from labour management software provider, S4Labour, hospitality sales from Thursday to Sunday were down 12.9% versus the week prior to the 10pm curfew’s introduction – with food and drink sales slipping by 10.9% and 14.7% respectively.
“I have never spoken to so many customers who are having to look at new innovations to drive sales and keep their businesses compliant,” Sam Wignell, chief customer officer at S4Labour, commented.
“It will be interesting to see how consumer behaviours change as we become accustomed to the new regulations.”
What’s more, the Government’s move to force pub, bar and restaurant customers to wear face masks "except when seated at a table to eat or drink” from 28 September hasn’t stifled pub goers’ enthusiasm, according to Streetbees.
While one-in-five (21%) respondents claimed that having to wear a mask in their local put them off visiting, a further fifth (21%) said the measure actually made them more likely to pop in for food or drink.
Additionally, more than half (57%) claimed that the compulsory wearing of masks when not seated had no impact on their desire to visit a pub, bar or restaurant.
Streetbees also found that while two thirds (67%) of guests said their willingness to visit the pub wasn’t impacted by the Government’s table-service only measure, 59% of respondents would like to see a greater emphasis on table service post-pandemic, with only one-in five (22%) craving a return to pre-Covid bar service and queuing.
According to the platform’s research, about one-in-five (19%) Brits are more likely to visit a pub under table-service only rules, with just 14% saying it would put them off.
As reported by The MA, previous Streetbees research revealed that of the respondents who had dined out on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme, almost two thirds (60%) wouldn’t have done so had it not been for the 50% discount.
Yet since the Government’s scheme wrapped on 31 August, almost half (46%) of respondents claim to be visiting pubs as frequently as they did during the discount period, suggesting that a decent portion of discount diners have stayed loyal to their local or are benefiting from offers riffing on Sunak’s scheme.
The MA recently revealed a number of hospitality operators including Oakman Inns, JD Wetherspoon, Arc Inspirations and Hall & Woodhouse had all pledged to continue funding EOTHO-style discounts throughout October.
While a third (35%) of Brits are going to pubs, bars and restaurants less regularly according to Streetbees, slightly more than one-in-ten (13%) claim to be visiting more often.