Twenty-eight per cent of UK adults visited a pub or restaurant over re-opening weekend, and a further 17% plan to visit in the next week, but customer experience was not up to scratch for some who visited, according to new research from KAM Media.

Soho pub

The research carried out on Monday, 6th July, found that 18% of those who visited this weekend will not be back again for a while, and a further 36% of those who returned said they will continue to visit but not to the same extent as they were doing pre-lockdown. Forty-six per cent are happy to now return to their pre-lockdown visiting habits.

Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media, said: “These first few days and weeks will be critical for operators as they welcome people back through their doors. It’s worrying that 18% say they will now not be returning for a while — operators need to act fast to understand why customers may have negative feelings about their first experience so that they can turn that sentiment around, fast.”

Previous research from KAM showed that a third of people were less likely to return to pubs and restaurants because they were concerned that the experience would have fundamentally changed. “We all know that atmosphere is absolutely key to an outstanding customer experience,” said Katy. “Three in four customers think it is the venue’s responsibility to ensure that they have a positive and memorable experience when they visit, so the pressure is on.

“We know that hospitality, as an industry, provides great, safe experiences — we just need to ensure that we’re communicating correctly with customers. Our research shows that, predictably, making a customer feel safe is the number one priority for venues right now, but operators obviously need to ensure they are also providing a fun, enjoyable experience, too.

“Communication is key within these first few weeks and that shouldn’t be one-way. Operators need to pro-actively ask their customers for feedback on their first experiences to ensure they can continue to amend and improve their offer.”

The research also found that, as predicted, a significant proportion of last weekend’s footfall was driven by Generation Z and young Millennials — 41% of those aged between 18 and 34 years old have already visited a pub or restaurant.

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