Commercial kitchens face the prospect of being chronically under-used this Christmas after nearly half of pubs, restaurants and hotels said they had lost approximately 75% of festive bookings since the ‘rule of six’ and 10pm curfew began.
With the three-tier system applying the ‘rule of six’ for all dining out and the highest tier limited to just one household, as well as a ‘circuit breaker’ now in Wales, most people aren’t waiting on the Prime Minister to lift the ‘rule of six’ for Christmas Day.
Yet 77% of consumers polled by booking and reservation systems specialist Adactus said they would rebook Christmas reservations if the ‘rule of six’ banning larger gatherings during the pandemic was lifted.
More than 2,000 consumers in England and 500 owners or managers of pubs, hotels and restaurants were questioned for the survey, with 69% of people said they had changed plans or cancelled reservations to eat out because their party would exceed the ‘rule of six’.
66% said their cancelled bookings included their office Christmas party, 26% included their annual family Christmas dinner, 16% a dinner with friends and 6% meals out Christmas shopping with friends.
69% of hospitality businesses said they are pessimistic about the viability of their businesses if the rules remain in place for up to six months.
Scott Muncaster, managing director of Adactus, said: “Clearly our study has found that people are not changing their Christmas plans to eat out due to their fear of catching the virus, but due to the ‘rule of six’ and 10pm curfew. Many people would still like to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with meals out but are being put off by the restrictions.”