Business optimism has increased since the roll-out of the vaccines in response to Covid-19
23 March 2021: Statistics showed that 69% of firms expect an increase in business activity and that trading levels will return to normal either by the end of this year or the first half of next year – hospitality businesses being the most confident. The 2021 UK Hospitality Snapshot Survey revealed encouraging signs of confidence amongst the sector, even before the Prime Minister set out his roadmap to recovery and extended support measures were announced in the March Budget.
The survey also highlighted that:-
- Three quarters of respondents who set up delivery and takeaway services as a result of the pandemic plan to continue to provide this service as restrictions are eased and 78% of businesses who have switched to online sales (including DIY meal kits) plan to continue to offer these;
- Pubs and bars led the charge towards new technologies, with nearly half of those surveyed implementing ordering and payment apps as part of social distancing measures; these technologies are here to stay for 95% of hospitality businesses who have adopted them during the pandemic; and
- Looking ahead, changes in working patterns, changes in consumer preferences or behaviours, and an ongoing adherence to distancing and hygiene measures were anticipated to be the three most significant impacts arising from the pandemic.
However, despite being most confident about the future of their businesses, hotels estimated that their return to normal trading would take longer, in what is perhaps a reflection of the likely slower return of normal tourism and travel. Compared to restaurants, pubs and bars were generally less optimistic about the length of time before a return to normality.
Under current plans, non-essential retail will be able to open from 12 April if new coronavirus infections are kept under control. Outdoor hospitality, such as beer gardens, will also be allowed to reopen then. Pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to welcome customers through their doors to sit inside until at least 17 May.
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