Almost two-thirds (63%) of British consumers say they will return to restaurants, bars or cafes in the month after lockdown ends but trust in hygiene and social distancing will be key, study reveals.
The study, carried out by The NPD Group, shows that more than three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed stated that good hygiene will be a more important factor in choosing a restaurant than before the lockdown. The same percentage say they want to see strict rules to "prevent contagion" and 74% said they would prefer restaurants that can "guarantee social distancing".
The global information company says the results from its second Covid-19 British Foodservice Sentiment Study show that 58% consumers believe restaurants and bars are the "riskiest places" in terms of transmission and 64% said they will only select restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments that they trust.
Dominic Allport, insights director (Foodservice), The NPD Group, said: "The majority of people in our survey plan to return to restaurants, bars and cafes 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."
He added that their data showed consumers were already "acutely aware of cleanliness" when eating out before Covid-19 and that operators would need to make it a "top priority" in order to encourage people back into their operations.
The survey also suggested that food delivery services had the potential to expand into the over-55 age group, of which only 13% currently used that channel yet it was the group that would feel more vulnerable than younger groups when they leave the home.
Allport said: "Understandably, there will still be some people who are reluctant to go out. Operators can build this into their channel strategy and encourage more people to try delivery, especially older age groups."
The survey also showed that what have people have missed most during lockdown was spending time with family (39%), socialising with friends (37%) and eating something special they cannot cook (30%).