Travel hubs will never return to their pre-pandemic peak and that is the reality hospitality businesses that rely on them will have to live with, Spencer Craig, founder of Pure has said.

Craig told MCA’s The Conversation the impact of COVID on the business had been “brutal” and his food to go brand did not recover last summer, even with a reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and Eat to Help Out.

He said: “We are 90% takeaway so people being on the move is a big thing for us…It’s been a brutal year and it will be a very slow recovery for us.”

Craig said the pent-up demand for hospitality was “obvious” but Pure was a subsector of that which fitted in with people having to commute and go back to work.

“It was very difficult, but we’ve done what we can…and worked really hard and done a tremendous amount of work on our technology operation, our menu, so our job is to control what we can control, come back stronger and make sure that when customers do come in they get a treat that is better than they thought it was when they were last in a Pure.”

The vaccine programme would “hopefully” do its job and confidence would return and people move around much more.

However, he said: “I don’t think we will ever see commuter train travel coming back to the way it was. I think train and the longer-distance commute is changed forever.”

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