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Support Local Independent Restaurants, Cafes and Bars After Lockdown Lifts

A group bookings provider is urging the public to support their local bars and restaurants once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The county is once again in lockdown, and pubs, restaurants and hotels are forced to shut their doors. Many see this as the third major blow to the hospitality sector across the UK.

This hardship to hospitality is tough to take for many, and Bradley Gough, CEO and Founder of Groubook, calls for more support for independent businesses working in the hospitality sector.

Mr Gough welcomes the new government grants to help keep businesses afloat until spring whilst we are all in lockdown, but warns it is not enough.

He says businesses are continuing to incur mounting debt and the £9,000 of support offered will quickly run out. It is not enough to cover the costs of many businesses and certainly will not underpin longer-term business viability for the sector.

Bradley is now calling for a clear plan on what happens next, especially for those sectors which have incurred massive losses throughout - but he is also calling for the British public to play their part and support the local businesses that need it so much.

Bradley Gough

Mr Gough, CEO of Groubook said: “With the uncertainty of Brexit and COVID-19, it’s been a tough year for the hospitality sector, and the future of the industry is less known. Nobody has had any guidance on when we can re-open.

“Unfortunately, many bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants will not survive the strict new regulations across the UK.

“We don't want to see the industry disappear and that's what’s slowly happening. So, we call on the British public to spearhead the rescue mission and support their local bars, cafes and restaurants when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“We get it - some people will be excited to be back out eating, drinking, and socialising, and some will think it’s all too soon and want to stay home. Both are OK and we need to be more aware and tolerant of each other. But whether you choose to stay at home, or go out, we can all do our bit to help rescue the hospitality sector.”

Here are eight ways customers can support local businesses in the current climate:

1. Book a table

When safe to do and lockdown restrictions are lifted, you will be able to visit SOME of your favourite places again. Others will open days, weeks or months later when they are ready. And when you are ready and comfortable, book a table. When the restaurants see the bookings come in, it will give them the confidence to get back going again!

Don’t forget to visit midweek, not just at the weekends too.

2. Order takeaway if preferred

This is also possible during lockdown for many local hospitality businesses, but rest assured most places will continue this even if they’re “open” again. So if you don’t want to attend in person, order the products to take away. It's still supporting the business. It’s worth checking the best way to deliver or collect, as many delivery apps take a commission from the business.

3. Cook at home

Quite a few local restaurants are offering DIY packs, ready meals and “finish at home” style packs. You just need to be prepared to do the final bit of effort, in heating up and presenting it.

4. Invest in vouchers

A lot of establishments in the hospitality sector have vouchers available to buy and they can be used in the future.

Having the money come in from vouchers is great for business confidence, and it's good for consumers to have something to look forward to. Vouchers also make great gifts!

5. Don’t forget the high street

Even through lockdown, various local shops that sold food remained open, such as delicatessens. More will reopen and spring back to life when safe and allowed, so keep tabs on the local high street outlets as you can get great fresh produce from delis etc. saving you visiting the supermarket. It’s also worth mentioning that some traders make a living off doing pop-ups in places like pub car parks. So when safe to do so, keep an eye on your favourite traders via social media so you don’t miss out.

6. Share on social media

Speaking of social media, something as simple as a quick post on social media reporting on a great visit or meal can lead to more bookings. As customers, we need to be cheerleaders for our favourite independents, as they need all the publicity they can get. Sharing your positive experience means a lot to the independent businesses but also helps others find great sources to use in future.

7. Turn up to your bookings

If you book a table at a restaurant in the coming weeks and months, make sure you turn up. In previous lockdowns, many independent businesses were hit by a wave of no-shows since reopening, and these affect small restaurants more than you might think. But we are human so if, for any reason, you're no longer able to make a booking, simply contact the restaurant and let them know in advance.

8. Normalise deposits

Learning from previous lockdowns, independents have been forced to ask for deposits with their bookings, requiring customers to put down a small, refundable fee to reduce the risk of people not turning up. If you're looking to book a table at one of your favourite restaurants, don't be put off if they ask for a deposit. It will come off your bill!


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