United Kingdom

Two-thirds of hospitality firms optimistic about the next year as the country comes out of lockdown

Two-thirds of hospitality firms feel optimistic about the next 12 months as the country continues its path out of lockdown.

Millions of people have already flocked to pubs and restaurants since many opened for business again last Monday, with experts reporting drink sales up 114 per cent compared with the same period in 2019.

The reopening of outdoor hospitality is a boost for the sector, which has lost £74 billion since last March.

According to a study by trade body UKHospitality, 65 per cent of businesses now feel optimistic, with just 16 per cent pessimistic about remaining financially viable for at least another year.

Two-thirds of hospitality firms feel optimistic about the next 12 months as the country continues its path out of lockdown (stock image)

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘Seeing some venues open for business again was a long overdue sight for sore eyes. Hospitality is alone in being subject to so many stringent restrictions and so will be the last sector to recover.

‘But, as we saw after the financial crisis, it has the economic potential to punch above its weight in terms of driving recovery.’

Less than two-fifths of venues in the UK have outside space but 41,100 pubs, bars and restaurants in England have opened so far.

Businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are due to follow suit later this month.

Millions of people have already flocked to pubs and restaurants since many opened for business again last Monday, with experts reporting drink sales up 114 per cent compared with the same period in 2019 (stock image)

The survey of 110 firms, which run 8,400 venues, found they expected turnover to be just 29 per cent of regular trade while customers are only allowed to eat and drink outside.

From mid-May, when venues can admit customers inside under the rule of six, they expect to reach 56 per cent of normal turnover, rising to more than 80 per cent when restrictions are scheduled to end from June 21.

Publicans Lee and Jenni Wilson-Hart, who run The Greyhound Inn in the Peak District village of Warslow, said: ‘We have been very busy and we are 90 per cent booked up for the next three weeks.

‘All of our customers feel grateful that we are open, saying that the pub provides strength and stability within the community. The pub is once again ringing with the buzz of conversation and good times.’

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