The UK economy will receive a most-welcomed boost this weekend as Brits flock to pub gardens that have finally opened after months of lockdown.
According to TheFork, which was formerly known as Bookatable and is owned by Tripadvisor, London bookings for this weekend have climbed 220% compared to the ‘Super Saturday’ weekend of 4 and 5 July last year.
This was when the hospitality sector re-opened after the first lockdown in 2020.
The data from The Fork, which is the leading restaurant booking platform in Europe, showed that bookings across the rest of the country similarly rose, surging 105%.
“We’re confident UK hospitality will return to pre-pandemic levels within one to two months of re-opening. TheFork alone has already processed 115,560 confirmed restaurant bookings since the government announced its roadmap out of lockdown,” UK managing director at TheFork, Patrick Hooykaas, said.
“We’ve already seen it in Italy, Switzerland, and after the first UK wave of coronavirus. People are also now used to living with COVID-19 restrictions. It’s no longer a new way of life.”
It comes as the vaccine rollout programme in the UK continues to boost consumer confidence of being in public spaces.
Some 32.6 million people in the UK have received a first dose of the vaccine, while 9.4 million have been totally inoculated, according to the latest government data.
Hooykaas added: “For restaurants to maximise this key one to two-month opportunity after re-opening, they need to secure as many reservations as they can. Restaurants can no-longer rely on walk-ins, even for cancellations, as consumers will want the clarity of knowing they’ve got a table booked.
“Consumer behaviour will be vital in helping businesses to bounce back, but we’re confident pent up demand will drive UK hospitality back to pre-pandemic levels very quickly after re-opening.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association highlighted that it was important to remember bookings are only allowed for outside space – if pubs have it.
With pub gardens making up around 25% of a pubs capacity, they need to be operating at around 80% capacity to be truly "fully booked", the spokesperson warned.
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