Home U.K Covid milestone: Restaurant bookings rise – hopes of return to pre-pandemic business

Covid milestone: Restaurant bookings rise – hopes of return to pre-pandemic business

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Patrick Hooykaas, managing director of The Fork, a leading restaurant booking app, said he was optimistic that the UK hospitality sector would return to pre-pandemic levels of business within one to two months of re-opening. With the UK’s successful rollout of the vaccine, Mr Hooykaas is confident the public will return to eating out as the country comes out of lockdown.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Mr Hooykaas said: “We’re confident UK hospitality will return to pre-pandemic levels within one to two months of re-opening.

“TheFork alone has already processed 115,560 confirmed restaurant bookings since the government announced its roadmap out of lockdown.

“People are also now used to living with Covid-19 restrictions. It’s no longer a new way of life.”

He added: “Plus the success of the vaccine roll-out will have boosted consumer confidence of being in public spaces.

“So there is no longer a big fear factor about returning to pubs and restaurants.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that pubs and restaurants could resume outdoor service from April 12 as part of his second stage on the roadmap out of lockdown.

If the vaccination schedule goes as planned and cases remain low, hospitality venues will be able to seat customers indoors from May 17 for a maximum of six people.

“For restaurants to maximise this key one to two-month opportunity after re-opening, they need to secure as many reservations as they can,” said Mr Hooykaas.

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“Restaurants can no-longer rely on walk-ins, even for cancellations, as consumers will want the clarity of knowing they’ve got a table booked.

“Consumer behaviour will be vital in helping businesses to bounce back, but we’re confident pent up demand will drive UK hospitality back to pre-pandemic levels very quickly after re-opening.”

Last Monday, Mr Johnson said there is currently no decision on whether the UK will introduce vaccine passports as the Government is still debating over possible “complicated ethical and practical issues”.

Mr Hooykaas said: “If the Government decides to implement passports these then pubs and restaurants will need to make the necessary changes to adhere to this guidance.

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“It’s important the hospitality industry continue to follow government guidance as required.”



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