Nearly two-thirds of British consumers have said they would return to cafés, bars and restaurants within the first month of them reopening, according to a survey by The NPD Group.

Two-thirds of Brits plan to visit cafes in opening month

Sixty-three per cent of respondents to the global information company’s second Covid-19 British Foodservice Sentiment Study said they planned to visit these establishments soon after re-opening.

However, three-quarters (76%) of those polled said good hygiene would be a more important factor in choosing an establishment than before lockdown. The same percentage admitted they wanted to see strict rules to “prevent contagion” and 74% said they would prefer places that could “guarantee social distancing”.

This was particularly important as 58% of respondents said restaurants and bars were the riskiest places to be infected with Covid-19.

“The majority of people in our survey plan to return to restaurants, bars and cafés within a month of lockdown ending, but in order to do so, they’ll need to trust operators to offer safe environments from the get-go,” said Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice), The NPD Group.

“Our data shows that consumers were already acutely aware of cleanliness in eating-out establishments before Covid-19. As the industry moves towards reopening, operators will need to make this a top priority in order to encourage people back into their operations.

He added that some consumers would still be reluctant to go out, and encouraged operators to build this factor into their channel strategy by, for example, encouraging more people to try delivery.

Many bakeries and cafés have turned to delivery in recent weeks – a medium that is already popular among the 18-34 age group, according to The NPD Group, with 59% using the channel. Patronage dips to 32% in the 35-54 age band and drops further to just 13% for the over-55s.