SOUTH Lakeland restaurants are heading to being ‘brought off life support’ after seeing a significant increase in spending from their customers, figures have revealed.
Last week figures suggested that spending in restaurants rose when diners were allowed indoors.
Trade body UKHospitality said the end of all social restrictions this summer is critical to get the restaurant industry “off life support”, as revenue is still well below pre-pandemic levels.
Banking firm Revolut analysed the data of its 4,000 customers in South Lakeland in the seven days to May 23, as they sat down inside restaurants and cafes for the first time this year.
Diners spent 54% more over this period than they did the previous week when only outdoor dining was permitted, with one bill coming to a hefty £310.50.
However, spending was still 16% below a normal week in February last year before the pandemic began.
Spending in restaurants and cafes across Great Britain saw a larger fall, of 41%.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “Current restrictions severely reduce venue capacity, so restaurants’ ability to make money is constrained to well below pre-Covid levels.
“Many restaurants have been permanently lost as a result of the pandemic and there are others that, after months of closure and trading restrictions, have not yet reopened. A return to unrestricted trading on June 21 is critical and means hospitality businesses will come off life support and be viable for the first time in almost 16 months and enable companies to bring more staff back.”
Despite reopening, many establishments won’t have a full house until June 21. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is too early to say whether the easing of all restrictions will still go ahead as planned.