In the first three months after restrictions are lifted, 65% of consumers plan to spend the same amount or more money when dining out than they did before lockdown, a survey conducted by chef Marcus Wareing has found.

The survey, which was completed by 8,970 people between 20 – 28 May, showed a mixed response in consumer attitudes about returning to hospitality spaces when restrictions are lifted.

Whilst spend was likely to remain the same or increase, consumer confidence about returning to restaurants showed a clear split, with 31.4% saying they would be quite concerned about returning, versus 23.4% who feel little concern about the idea.

When it comes to fear of virus transmission, the primary concern for consumers was about contact with other guests, with 36% reporting they would be very concerned about catching the virus from a fellow diner.

Other factors including transition from staff, surfaces and toilets were also mentioned as “very concerning” by 17%, 23% and 33% respectively.

To tackle these fears, temperature checks were considered appropriate measure, with 73.7% saying they would like staff to take a temperate check before each shift, and 68% saying they would be comfortable submitting to a temperature check themselves before entry.

On PPE, 37.7% said they would like to see staff wearing gloves, and 33.9% said they would like to see staff wearing face masks.

However when asked if they would feel comfortable wearing gloves or a mask whilst dining, the majority said they would “not feel comfortable at all,” with just 10% (gloves) and 11% (mask) saying they would feel very comfortable doing so.

The measures consumers would feel most comfortable adhering to include using hand sanitiser before entry and throughout the meal (81%), using contactless payment where possible (91%) and participating in an informal service style - having to pour your own wine and reach for your own plates (81%).

This vast mix in consumer attitudes was also reflected in responses to a second survey carried out in May by discount dining business Tastecard.

According to the survey, which gathered responses from 8,266 consumers nationwide, 44% of people plan to dine out as frequently as before, and 11% plan to dine out more.

Whilst the poll predicts that the hospitality industry as a whole will see a 20% reduction in footfall after lockdown, independent restaurants could see a 6% rise in visitors, with 20% of respondents planning to exclusively dine in independents when restrictions are lifted.

Regionally, consumers in London, Wales and the West Midlands are planning on taking a more cautious approach to dining out post lockdown, with 50% of those living in peak coronavirus areas planning to reduce their dining out frequency.

More positively, 60% of consumers in the North of England said they planned to dine out just as much, if not more than they did prior to when lockdown measures were put in place.