Profitability, staffing and consumer confidence among main reopening concerns

Trade needs timeline and guidance now to be able to plan, says BII


PROFITABILITY, staffing, consumer confidence, managing social distancing and restocking timescales, levels and costs are among the main reopening concerns for operators, according to a new poll.

The BII Members’ Survey Report, which polled 8500 members of the trade group – 80% of which were single-site operators, revealed 87% are worried about the profitability of their pub when they reopen, with 78% concerned about consumer confidence levels and more than two thirds (68%) worried about making physical changes to their pub.

Less than a third (32%) said they are confident about managing the flow of staff and customers within their pub, while 61% said they felt confident about managing this in outdoor areas. When it comes to managing toilets, 84% said they will use signage to direct customers and 10% said they will have a dedicated member of staff managing the toilets.

Restocking timescales and levels are a concern for two fifths (41%) of those polled, with no firm date for reopening given by government as yet; and 38% are worried about the cost of restocking their pub.

The survey also revealed operators want clarity on requirements for reopening versus recommendations; “plenty of notice” to restart the supply chain; further financial support through an “initial loss-making period”; guidance on how to manage customers not adhering to social distancing; government communication to the public on what is expected of them as customers; and for compliance signage to be “informative and attractive, not terrifying”.

BII chief executive Steven Alton said operators need a clear timeframe from government to help them plan effectively for reopening.

“If there is one common thread running through the results of the survey, it is the uncertainty that our members are facing wherever they turn at the moment,” he said.

“They need clarity and support both locally and nationally to enable them to balance the health and safety of their staff and customers, their livelihoods and future survival, whilst still delivering a great pub experience.

“We will continue to use our members’ voices to inform government on the challenges that pubs face, and to call on government to recognise that our sector needs extraordinary support as we move to the next phase of reopening our pubs.”