Going for a coffee was the second most popular thing to do after visiting family and friends once the lockdown was lifted, according to research from Allegra World Coffee Portal.

It said 55% of respondents had visited a café or coffee shop since the restrictions were eased, behind 69% who visited family and friends. Of those that visited, 43% opted to takeaway, with 22% sitting in. Pubs, and bars and restaurants attracted 28%.

Allegra also pointed to the boost in sales generated by the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme and the cut in VAT on food and soft drink. It said 36% of consumers had said it would encourage them to go out more often, with 31% saying the same about the cut in VAT.

However, just 26% of the public think the government has done enough to support hospitality, with 42% critical of its response. Just over half of those questioned (51%) fear for the future of their local coffee shop.

In terms of safety, 47% feel safe physically visiting coffee shops, but 34% still do not. The vast majority (93%) of consumers consider social distancing to be the best way to minimise the risk of catching coronavirus, a 2% rise on April 2020, with 88% opting for more regular hand washing, up 3%.

Using hand sanitiser, 88%, and wearing masks, 83%, showed the biggest increases in since April 2020, rising 28% and 61% respectively.
There was also support for mandatory facemask wearing in most indoor public spaces, with 82% agreeing with the policy – 54% strongly so. And 83% would have liked to have seen masks introduced earlier.

“Cafés and coffee shops should be heartened by the wave of public support they have received since national lockdown restrictions were eased in July 2020,” said Allegra CEO Jeffrey Young.

“Nevertheless, this study indicates there are difficult times ahead for many businesses, and the extension of government support is likely needed to ensure the medium-term viability of the UK hospitality industry.”

Allegra spoke to over 3,000 UK consumers to compile the report.