Brits are keen to return to pubs but expect precautionary measures

Research released by Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, based on a poll of 2,373 pub-goers, reveals what consumers are expecting of their local pubs come reopening.

According to the poll, 93% of Brits are keen to return to their local pub or bar, with over a third (35%) intending to visit within a week of reopening.

With social distancing looking to be the new normal, the research also analysed Brits’ attitudes to new measures that could be adopted in venues.

Hygiene remains front of mind for pub-goers. The study finds two thirds (66%) are much more likely to visit if hand sanitiser is readily available throughout venues, while a quarter (25%) plan to avoid using public toilets upon returning to the pub.

Visible protective measures are also supported, with two in five (40%) claiming they’d be more likely to visit their local if it was compulsory for staff to wear face masks, and over a third (36%) welcoming screens at the bar.

Consumer attitudes uncovered in the research show that the on-trade sector will face changes to some long-established traditions – revealing five key themes venues should be aware of:

Peak times: Venues will need to rethink their offering outside of evenings and weekends, as over half (54%) plan to avoid visiting during peak times.

Skipping the queue: Jostling at the bar could become a thing of the past, as 55% welcome a switch to table service, and just under half (49%) more likely to go to bars or pubs with app-based ordering.

Spatial awareness: Support for social distancing is such that 56% wish to sit two metres from strangers, with 1 in 4 (25%) wishing to sit two metres away from friends.

One in, one out: The majority of pub-goers (51%) back a limit to the number of patrons allowed into a pub at one time.

Think local: There is a clear consumer desire for pubs to support the community, with 49% more likely to visit venues sourcing food and drink from local suppliers, and 52% keen to see performances from local acts including musicians and singers

The research also reveals that the quality of pubs’ core offering will remain key. When asked what they miss most about going to the pub, two thirds (64%) claimed to miss pub food the most, and a third miss a ‘perfectly poured pint’ (33%).

Despite the changes that the on-trade will need to make to support social distancing, Brits are keen to support the industry with a quarter planning to visit a new pub they haven’t tried before (25%) when lockdown lifts, looking to spend an average of £27 on their first visit.

Almost one in five (18%) will use this as an opportunity to be adventurous and treat themselves to a more expensive drink than usual.

To support the trade during the closure period, in March Budweiser Brewing Group launched Save Pub Life, a platform to enable pub-goers to gift cards for their favourite pub to use once they reopen, with Budweiser Brewing Group doubling the value. So far, the initiative has raised just over £950,000 for pubs.

Paula Lindenberg, president of Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “It’s great to see so many Brits are yearning to get back to the pub, even within the first week of them reopening.

“But it’s not without its cautions with the research finding that pubgoer’s behaviours, values and expectations will shift as the lockdown eases.

“As social distancing measures ease, we’re working closely with the Government and our industry associations on how we can support the reopening of bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants safely.

“As soon as it became clear pubs and bars were going to have to close, we wanted to find a way to help our customers.

“Our Save Pub Life programme is unique because it provides pubs and bars financial support now, at the time they need it most.

“Since launch two months ago, we have hit a milestone of over £945,000 in funding to pubs, and we encourage more publicans to sign up to the initiative.”

Save Pub Life

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