While licensees said customers were delighted to be back drinking and dining indoors, a number reported trade being less busy than they had anticipated.
“Lovely atmosphere but strangely quiet at both my pubs,” one operator said on Twitter.
For many operators Monday 17 May was the first time they had been able to serve customers since the third national lockdown in England.
Writing on Facebook, operator Tracy Hathorn described trade at her site was “steady,” after not being able to reopen on Monday 12 April when the shutdown on outdoor service was lifted. “[It has] been lovely to see our regulars again,” she said.
Others were able to compare trade this week to the previous five weeks where outdoor trade has been allowed.
“Busier with only the outside open,” another Facebook commentator wrote.
“Today is our quietest day in five weeks,” operator Simon Delaney from the Firbank Bar and Kitchen told The Morning Advertiser (MA) on Monday 17 May.
However, it was not quiet for everyone with Manchester’s Atlas Bar experiencing “really encouraging” trade this week.
“The support has been fantastic and it’s great to hear the buzz back in the bar,” they said on Twitter.
Really encouraging. The support has been fantastic and it’s great to hear the buzz back in the bar— Atlas Bar (@TheAtlasBar) May 21, 2021
Many licensees described anticipation for the first weekend of reopening to assess post-lockdown demand.
“Steady but not as busy as expected,” Daphne Leck said of trade at her village pub on Twitter. “Ironically, the bad weather is not helping,” she added. “Will be interesting to see what happens over the weekend.”
“Shockingly quiet! Let’s hope the weekend is better,” another operator said of the week’s trade.
Shockingly quiet. Let’s hope weekend is better!— Eirian whittingham (@eirianwhitt) May 21, 2021
The sector experienced a strong start on reopening day with sales at managed pub, restaurant and bars up by a quarter on pre-Covid levels, according to data from CGA.
Average sales at reopened managed venues’ were 24.9% higher than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019.
What’s more, food sales jumped 29.6% while drinks sales were up by 21.2%.
Spending in pubs and restaurants increased since indoor service was allowed to resume this week, figures from Barclaycard Payments also show.
Fresh data found spending at pubs and bars since reopening day on Monday 17 May was 171% higher than the week prior while restaurant sales were 58% higher.
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