CGA: ‘We will pull through this crisis’

By Georgia Cronin, MCA

- Last updated on GMT

New challenges: 'It’s been the most challenging period for the last eight years, but as the expression goes, when you’re going through hell, just keep going,' said CGA's Phil Tate
New challenges: 'It’s been the most challenging period for the last eight years, but as the expression goes, when you’re going through hell, just keep going,' said CGA's Phil Tate

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The sector is living through its toughest period in eight years, but consumer data proves it will pull through, CGA chief executive Phil Tate has said.

Speaking at this year’s virtual Peach event, Tate highlighted the devastating impact the pandemic continues to have on hospitality but said there was reason to be positive as consumer behaviour is not set to change long-term.

Overall, the sector has seen a 40% decline in overall turnover so far year-on-year, equating to £53.3bn. One in five outlets are yet to reopen, 9,500 are predicted to close permanently or change hands and 64% of consumers ate and drank out less frequently than they usually would from July to October - approximately 88 million less visits to the on-premise market.

Despite this bleak picture, Tate emphasised the importance of data suggesting consumers would return to the market as soon as they were permitted to do so.

In a recent survey, CGA found that 35% of consumers want to support hospitality as much as they can through the crisis, and 54% said they would put up with restrictions if it meant they could still visit hospitality spaces.

Over the last few months this support has translated to visits, with 35% of consumers visiting the sector in the first 10 days of reopening in July, and 76% having visited from July to November.

The implementation of the tiering system in October had an obvious impact on operators ability to remain viable – with 48% saying they won’t be here next time next year without further support – but Tate revealed that consumers remain confident in the sector regardless of the tighter restrictions.

In tier 1, 46% of consumers said they would feel confident about eating out, a figure which declined to just 45% and 44% respectively in tiers 2 and 3.

Looking ahead to December, 76% of consumers said they would want to return to hospitality spaces, and of those that don’t, 42% said they would once a vaccine became available.

With the country still in lockdown for the next two weeks, 30% of consumers said they would pre-book visits to pubs, bars and restaurants for December now, and 29% said they would do so as soon as a reopening date was announced.

“It’s been the most challenging period for the last eight years, but as the expression goes, when you’re going through hell, just keep going,” said Tate. “The sector has supported the community and that’s been recognised in the community looking to pay us back.

“The competitive set is going to be very different in the new year. There will be new challenges coming all the time, and our consumers are going to want different things.

“We’ve got a hard couple of months ahead of us, but we genuinely believe the sector will pull through this crisis. We do not see any evidence in the data that consumers are looking to change their behaviour to go to the off-premise for the long term.

“What we’re seeing instead is consumers loving our sector. We are in built into the fabric of society. We’ve seen a pent-up demand of consumers who want to get back out into the marketplace, celebrate those big moments and create new memories. And that’s what we look forward to speaking about this time next year."

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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