Consumer financial concerns expected to hamper recovery
The impact of consumers' financial concerns cannot be underplayed as hospitality looks to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, industry leaders heard today.
A webinar hosted by CGA heard that 85% of consumers are concerned about the long-term financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Karl Chessell, the insight expert's business unit director for food and retail, anticipating this will deliver a further blow to the frequency of dining out of home in the coming months.
The prediction has been backed up by reports from China, where a 10% reduction in average consumer spend has been seen. Despite these concerns CGA said 22% of 5,000 consumers polled had said they would feel comfortable returning to hospitality venues as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Younger people are widely expected to be the first to return, in line with what has been seen in other countries. Chessell reported that in China almost 48% of consumers had eaten out in the four to six weeks following restrictions being lifted, although the frequency of doing so had been hit.
Chessell stressed that the quality of a venue's food and drink offering would still be key as consumers decide where to visit, polling just behind hygiene in CGA's research. He said that while many operators were looking to reduce offerings to aid compliance with distancing requirements and limit costs, it would be important to continue to appeal to future customers on this basis.
Emma Causer, chief customer officer of Wireless Social, shared details of its latest footfall report.
The report showed that last weekend (Sunday 31 May) footfall in London returned to levels seen on 22 March, the day before prime minister Boris Johnson formerly imposed a lockdown, although this was concentrated in residential areas.
Simon Potts, managing director of the Alchemist bar and restaurant group, confirmed that the first sites it would look to open were those in areas with a strong residential market, with a more cautious approach taken in business-led districts.
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