Huq Foodservice Indicator: 51pt Growth in Activity Shows How Pubs are Adapting to Survive

Life under lockdown has presented the Foodservice industry with its biggest challenge for a generation and footfall under forced closures has dropped by well over 90%. However, Huq’s Foodservice Indicator, which tracks footfall activity across Restaurants, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and Pubs, shows footfall to pubs has been increasing while offering some clues as to how certain businesses have adapted during this period to maintain a presence and survive.

All three sub-industries saw an overnight drop in footfall following the introduction of restrictions on 20 March. A small but sustained increase at the end of April coincided with Boris Johnson’s return to Downing Street and announcements that Britain was ‘past the peak’.

While activity remains very low across all three sub-industries, pubs present consistently – if only negligibly – stronger data, reporting a 51pt increase in footfall activity compared to the core lockdown period of Mar-24 to Apr-24. Huq’s data shows that there is activity across these Foodservice industry categories – but with businesses closed in the traditional sense, what could that activity be?

While footfall is still significantly down across the foodservice industry, pubs have seen a gradual increase footfall since the end of April.

What’s behind this increase in activity?

Reports of the more independent pubs adapting to sell fresh produce or takeaway beers suggest the 51pt increase in activity in recent weeks observed through the Huq Foodservice Indicator represents a measure of increased alternative trade and corresponding worker activity for those that have taken the initiative to adapt.

With many QSRs keeping their doors closed or open for delivery-only, the modest levels of activity observed here suggest a measure of delivery-led activity and potentially staff-training in preparation for post Covid-19 trial operations, as we have seen with Greggs.  With the road to recovery still someway off for the UK Hospitality industry at large, future updates from the Huq Foodservice Indicator will help analysts and industry watchers measure how the Foodservice industry continues to adapt and find ways to trade during this period and eventually, what shape its recovery could take.

Meanwhile, Brits hoping to enjoy a Bank Holiday pint in the sun will have to make do with drinking it at a distance from a plastic takeaway cup.


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