Bar and restaurant sales up 25% as indoor hospitality reopens

This week saw the much-anticipated return of indoor hospitality venues. This is great news for vendors up and down the country; as reported previously, only around 41,100 venues have outdoor space. Research indicates that only a third (32.9%) of businesses had the outdoor space necessary to open from the 12th April. Even those that did saw their capacity reduced by up to 80% due to the rules regarding outdoor dining.

As indoor trading resumes, the industry has been keeping a keen eye on how venues have been coping. The figures coming in from the CGA have been promising. Data shows that reopened hospitality venues have seen sales rising by 24.9% overall, in comparison to the same period in May 2019.  More specifically, food sales have seen a higher increase, with 29.6% growth. However, the data regarding drink sales is not far behind, with a 21.2% increase in comparison with 2019.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK & Ireland, commented: “Consumers have been waiting a very long time to get back inside restaurants, pubs and bars, and Monday’s trading was a sign of how much Britain’s hospitality industry has been missed.

“Venues still face some tough restrictions, and in the case of late-night bars, nightclubs and venues with limited space, remain closed completely. After a very difficult start to 2021, Monday was a very welcome step on the roadmap to recovery, however, there is still a long way to go and continued support for the sector will be necessary.”

Meanwhile, a British Beer & Pub Association spokesperson weighed in, insisting the figures showed “an encouraging first day back for trade inside our pubs, but there is long way to go yet, and the coming months are critical. Continued support from pub goers by visiting their local, as well as the full removal of restrictions in pubs, are vital if pubs are to survive heading out of the pandemic and after more than a year of enforced closure or crippling restrictions.”

These figures are a breathe of fresh air after five and a half months of no revenue, and little communication from the government. It is often the case that after a bounce in sales figures, trading plateaus over the coming weeks, so we shall see if figures continue to climb. Nevertheless, the data shows that the UK public are happy to be back in venues up and down the country. With the majority of restrictions still due to be dropped on 21st June, there is definitely a more positive atmosphere within the industry.

Words by Rebecca Clayton