Hospitality industry operators can expect a slow start to trading as the Safe to Trade Scheme Consumer Insight Report reveals consumer confidence has taken a huge hit.
The report, designed to track customer sentiment around returning to food and drink establishments has revealed that half of consumers aren’t confident that the government guidelines go far enough, with 96% of customers wanting to see venues rated in terms of their COVID compliance.
The consumer insight report comes from the Safe to Trade Scheme, which has been formed by Shield Safety Group (SSG) alongside leading food safety industry experts, to help businesses reopen safely and increase consumer confidence. Its findings reveal that 56% of customers are unsure or lack the confidence that the government’s guidelines will ensure their personal safety, let alone that of high risk or shielding friends and relatives. Of those respondents that are confident, half of (51%) are yet to be convinced that the guidelines will protect those deemed high-risk / shielding.
Nine out of ten respondents would choose one venue over another if it clearly showed it conformed to, or surpassed, government safety standards; 94% of consumers would like to see industry experts advising on venue safety practices and 89% of guests would like to see outlets going above beyond any government advice, to provide maximum protection.
Mark Flanagan, CEO at Shield Safety Group (SSG), which administrates the Safe to Trade Scheme, and who heads up the Scheme’s Governance Board comments: “It’s clear from the Safe to Trade insight report that consumers don’t trust the government to go far enough to ensure their safety. If consumer confidence is to be supercharged and customers are to come back through the doors in serious numbers, then the industry is going to have to grab the bull by the horns and demonstrate that restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels are COVID-safe spaces. Consumers are demanding more and the hospitality businesses that will win, in the ‘new normal’, will be the ones that listen, respond and make the customer feel safe.”
SSG is a leading provider of health, safety and risk management services including food safety, fire safety, Assured Advice, and consultancy services, alongside software solutions. The award-winning firm has over 1,400 clients all over the UK, including Tesco, Stars Pubs & Bars and Interstate Hotel Management. They also work with a large number of public sector organisations.