August 5, 2020

Nearly half of diners aren’t enjoying restaurants like before

And that’s not all. Nearly half are also intending to dine out less in future.

Restaurants have been re-open for about a month now, with bookings understandably down on last year, but with early positive signs as bookings steadily rose across July.* 

The government’s ‘eat out to help out’ initiative is a welcome helping hand. It aims to address the reluctance of Brits to go back to the dining table - The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated just over 2-in-10 adults were happy to have a sit-down meal.**

The initiative has been well received, being taken up by a whole host of restaurants, with some getting fully booked out from Mondays to Wednesdays.

What do those who have already returned think of post-lockdown dining?

Nearly half of UK restaurant goers do not think the experience is as fun as before lockdown (45.2%), while nearly half (46.5%) also do not intend to go as regularly as before (see graph 1).

Graph 1

So who is having fun in the new restaurant normal?

Of those who are intending to visit restaurants as much as pre-lockdown, nearly two thirds are women (61.2%). A small group of fans of the new restaurant normal is emerging, with nearly two thirds (58.2%) of those who now see restaurants as more fun than before intending to visit as frequently as prior to lockdown (see graph 2).

Graph 2

Thoughts from Startle CEO, Adam Castleton

“Aided by the success of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and many operators passing on the recent VAT reduction to customers, the early signs for restaurant recovery are promising. It's also encouraging to hear from many that the problem of no-shows appears to be reducing. With the Eat Out To Help Out scheme ending in August it's imperative that customers who visit now leave with a positive lasting impression so that they come back once the financial incentives have been lifted. A focus on the ambience as well as service and product, will help to create a memorable overall experience (for all the right reasons).”

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Surveys carried out July 2020. Sample size (n)  >1000 people, UK Nat. Rep. with 95% confidence level & margin of error of +/- 5%.

*OpenTable, via BBC website article – ‘Coronavirus: How can I use the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme?’ August 2020

**BBC website article – ‘Coronavirus: Most Britons still ‘uncomfortable’ eating out’. July 2020.

Nearly half of diners aren’t enjoying restaurants like before
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