Managed restaurants, pubs and bars have enjoyed a strong start to indoor trading, with sales up a quarter on pre-Covid levels on 17 May, according to new research from CGA.

Reopened managed venues’ average sales were 24.9% higher than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019, it found.

Food sales surged 29.6% as people took advantage of the opportunity to eat inside again for the first time this year in England and Wales. Drink sales climbed 21.2%.

The success of the return to inside service comes after the release of CGA data that indicated strong sales for pubs, bars and restaurants over the first fortnight of outside-only service from 12 April, but more difficult trading conditions amid poor weather in early May.

CGA’s Market Recovery Monitor with AlixPartners indicated that only around a third (32.9%) of Britain’s licensed premises were able to trade in April, meaning the majority did not reopen until this week.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK & Ireland, said people had been waiting a very long time to get back inside restaurants, pubs and bars, and Monday’s trading was a sign of how much Britain’s hospitality industry has been missed.

“Venues still face some tough restrictions, and in the case of late-night bars, nightclubs and venues with limited space, remain closed completely.

“But after a very difficult start to 2021, Monday was a very welcome step on the roadmap to recovery, however, there is still a long way to go and continued support for the sector will be necessary,” said Jones.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: the data was a welcome reminder that the sector was “much-loved” by its customers.

“As we’ve seen previously, we often see a reopening bounce in sales, followed by a dip, so we hope these positive figures continue in the coming weeks.

“It is critical that government restores consumer confidence in hospitality and restores our ability to trade profitably by removing all restrictions on 21 June as planned – let’s not forget that all of these businesses which are open are still making a loss until they do,” Nicholls said.

The British Beer & Pub Association said continued support from pub goers by visiting their local, as well as the full removal of restrictions in pubs, were vital if pubs were to survive heading out of the pandemic and after more than a year of enforced closure of “crippling” restrictions.