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Life After Lockdown – Part 2: Hospitality 

Posted by    |   May 21st, 2020   |   No Comments

In the second part of our Life After Lockdown series, we look at the hospitality sector which has been the area hardest hit by the Covid outbreak, but has also has been a beacon for entrepreneurial spirit as it faces into an uncertain future.

 

Food Glorious Food

As we entered the early stages of the lockdown, some of the most memorable/controversial scenes were of queues of people at takeaways and cars at drive-throughs until they too fell to social distancing measures and closed their doors. As home-cooking became a requirement, the nation began utilising kitchens that were previously more for show than actual use, with it being no surprise that cooking (38%) and baking (35%) were the top two skills improved during lockdown. While this was happening, takeaways and former restaurants adapted their premises and even their business models to safely cater for customers in the new environment.

 

In recent weeks, we have seen impressive levels of ingenuity, with everything from previously offline takeaways offering fully contactless food orders by appointment only to publicans delivering pints of Guinness to their customer’s homes. The effect of this has been that currently four-in-five would feel comfortable collecting food from takeaways. For restaurants who’ve entered this sphere during the lockdown or are considering doing so, it was interesting to note that almost a quarter of respondents would be willing to pay the full sit-in price for a takeaway option, while 58% would avail of a delivery service if it was offered, only slightly behind traditional takeaway/fast food outlets (62%).

 

On the subject of publicans delivering pints, licensing issues withstanding, one-in-ten would take up this option. Whether this is due to the novelty factor or because it offers a taste of what we are missing remains to be seen, but with the likelihood of industry-wide closures running into August, there may be more invention from this area than any others.

 

Holidays

By quite some distance, and in no way unexpected, the main purchase that people will not proceed with due to Covid-19 is a holiday, with just under two-thirds of people being impacted by this. Interestingly, when asked where they would holiday if they were told it it was safe, foreign holidays (51%) edged out Irish holidays (37%) among respondents, while one-in-eight said they wouldn’t holiday. For domestic holidays this summer, hotel/spa breaks (39%) were the most popular, followed by traditional tourist attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, which came in at 25%. Hotels also remain the most popular form of accommodation for holidays ahead of apartments/houses.

 

Hair & Beauty

On the subject of things we have gone without, we come to a topic that has come up more and more in Irish households over the past few weeks, even being deemed important enough for a reporter to ask Tony Holohan about at the daily briefing. While the immediate future for this industry remains uncertain given the close contact required, there have been enough disappointed customers who’ve gotten the DIY treatment at home to ensure that once restrictions are lifted people will return to the salons and barbers, with 45% opting for the pre-Covid set up and 34% for a restricted option with a higher price point but fewer appointments taken to ensure social distancing. On a positive note for the DIY stylists out there, this option was slightly more popular than home visits from the professionals.

By Ronan Cassidy

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