NWCE Food Service Equipment has reported the results of its post-coronavirus confidence survey, which sought to investigate diners’ attitudes about returning to eating out.
The servicing company’s survey was completed by 500 participants from the general public and includes gauging favoured establishments prior to the pandemic and how individual views may have changed towards visiting these as restrictions are lifted. It also encouraged views on what would make people feel more confident and safe to return to their preferred venues.
Just over 42% of respondents said that they would visit foodservice establishments without any worry if the government lifted restrictions. A further 35% said they would only visit if strict social distancing rules are in place, with just 8% saying they would visit only if outdoor drinking and eating are available, and the remaining 15% responding that they would not patronise foodservice establishments until a coronavirus vaccine is available and issued.
In terms of which types of foodservice sites the respondents would visit in normal times, gastropubs came top with 35%, closely followed by restaurants with 24% and beverage-only pubs with 21%. Cafes and bistros came in at 10%, bars or cocktail lounges at 7% and hotel bars or restaurants were last, with 2%.
When questioned about how the pandemic has made them feel about using foodservice establishments, 39% of those surveyed reported they would be wary to a degree that they will be selective where they socialise. 31% said it bothered them slightly, 18% were not bothered and the remaining 12% would be very wary to a point they will only socialise in foodservice sites if they have to.
NWCE’s MD Ben Odling said: “The main objectives of the survey were to take a snap view on the public’s thinking on hospitality and to help our partners in five key areas of planning how they can re-open their venue when it’s safe to do so.
“These areas are critical for businesses in planning stock and staffing levels whilst also ensuring public confidence that their establishment is a safe place to visit. We received over 350 different suggestions from participants on their views on safety and social distancing and have taken the main elements of these and matched them to products available to help hospitality businesses encourage customers to return.”
Some of the suggestions included: social distancing, handwash stations being on show and in use, sanitation stations present throughout the premises, air and surface automatic sanitisation appliances, signage and contactless payments.