RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

‘Rule of six' rules hit consumer confidence and plans to eat out, snap poll reveals

Younger adults are more likely to press on with their plans to go out.

New government limits on social gatherings have quickly damaged the confidence and plans of consumers to eat and drink out, according to a snap poll from CGA.

The ban in England on meetings of more than six people from 14 September left nearly a third (31%) feeling less confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants. Only 4% said the new measures had lifted their confidence.

CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey also found that over half (59%) of consumers who were intending to go out had cancelled plans or would not be making new ones in the future. Around one in seven (15%) of all consumers said they would alter their plans to observe the new regulations, whilst one in ten (10%) intends to go ahead with their visits regardless.

The survey also reveals divided opinions on the new restrictions. Two in five (43%) respondents think they are the right course of action, whilst a quarter (23%) think they are “too drastic.” Slightly more (29%) think the government is still not doing enough to control the pandemic.\

A generational split in attitudes was also seen in the poll, with older consumers much more likely than average to feel less confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants in light of the fresh restrictions, whilst younger adults are more likely to press on with their plans to go out.

“This research really highlights the fragility of consumer confidence at the moment,” said Hannah Payne, consumer research manager at CGA. “The new restrictions come just as restaurants and pubs were enjoying strong momentum from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and they are a warning if it were needed that the road back to normality in the out-of-home sector is going to be very bumpy.”

Payne argues the restrictions increase the pressure on operators to show guests that they can eat and drink out safely.

“Understanding their anxieties and demonstrating rigorous precautions without compromising the experience of going out for a meal or drinks will be absolutely crucial over the autumn,” she said.

The Consumer Pulse data is based on a survey of 500 adults in England, nationally representative of the out-of-home visitor based on age. It was carried out on 10 September.

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