Consumers becoming increasingly comfortable visiting the On Premise as the US fully reopens

Consumers’ confidence has shown no signs of stopping, with high proportions feeling comfortable when visiting bars and restaurants.

With bars, restaurants and similar venues first opening their doors with outdoor seating, it is no surprise that 82% of consumers are comfortable visiting venues that offer this option to dine or drink “al-fresco”. While Consumers are slightly less comfortable with indoor seating, almost three-quarters (73%) state they would be either “completely comfortable/comfortable” with visiting indoor seated venues in the next few weeks.  

 

CGA looked at three different elements of On Premise visitation in the most recent COVID-19 impact report to gauge comfort levels. These were:

  1. Guests not having to wear masks while away from their table,
  2. Having to go to the counter to be served, 
  3. Interaction with waiting/bar staffbeing in the same way as pre COVID-19.  

 

Three in five (61%) consumers are now comfortable with guests not wearing masks while away from their table. A similar proportion, just over three in five, are comfortable ordering at the counter (63% in restaurants vs. 60% in bars). Almost 7 in 10 (69%) are comfortable to interact with staff in the same way as they did pre COVID-19. These results show a majority are comfortable to “return to normal”, although there is still some concern from a notable minority of On Premise visitors. 

 

Despite Texas being one of the first states to open up following COVID-19, consumers are more concerned with the easing of restrictions. When looking at the comfort of visitors to interact with bar staff, 63% of consumers from Texas were comfortable, -6pp compared to the average US consumer across the four states surveyed. This correlates with lower levels of vaccination uptake in the Lone Star state. Age also plays a part, with under 55s being more comfortable with the easing of restrictions compared to over 55s.  

 

Beyond bars and restaurants, there is slightly more reluctance to visit channels known for being busy and crowded in the next few weeks. Over 2 in 5 (44%) consumers feel comfortable to visit sports stadiums and 44% are comfortable with festivals/concerts. Falling to 37% feeling “completely comfortable/comfortable” visiting nightclubs. Again, this comfort increases among under 35s, but is still only at 48% for this age group.  

 

Overall, there is a positive outlook for future comfort levels around On Premise visitation to increase. CGA data shows those who have been fully vaccinated compared to those who are waiting for their first vaccine are consistently more comfortable in areas such as venues with indoor seating and the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.  

 

The US is on the road back to normality with On Premise experience, but there is sense to maintaining visible precautions as case numbers rising may trigger some caution,” says Matthew Crompton, Client Solutions Director CGA. “Allowing consumers to enjoy an unrestricted experience, but which continues to highlight hygiene standards and offers the ability to ask staff to implement higher measures for individual tables could be a fragile balance worthwhile striking.” 

 

CGA’s consumer research sampled 1,886 LDA On Premise consumers across four key states (California, Florida, New York & Texas) between Friday and Monday (July 2 to July 5).  To access the latest COVID-19 On Premise Impact report, click here.

CGA will be closely tracking consumers’ confidence, habits, and preferences as the On Premise is now at full trading. To learn more about how CGA’s consumer research can support the recovery strategies of both operators and suppliers, email matthew.crompton@cgastrategy.com.

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