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  • Peter Backman

Two weeks in... the trading picture is still murky


In the two weeks since restaurants and pubs opened to serve food, it’s clear that the sector is not enjoying much of a boom time.

In normal times of stress in the sector, the lever to get things going again is money in consumers’ pockets. Whilst people are rightly worried about their finances in the medium term, the big issue now is fear of being infected, making it a medical and hygiene issue. And, interestingly, consumers have been wary of hygiene and safety in restaurants for far longer than the period of coronavirus - in the Food Standards Agency’s biannual survey of consumer attitudes towards food in in 2018, one third of the population was concerned about food hygiene when eating out.

It seems to me that this general wariness has been partly transferred to the coronavirus world of eating out. To that extent, could consumers’ current concerns about safety be part of a bigger, longer term picture? Until it can be fully addressed by the sector, can we assume demand will remain low?

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