According to a recent BBC article as some countries ease coronavirus restrictions, mental health experts are noticing an emerging phenomenon; anxiety about life after lockdown.

We’re in “lockdown limbo” at the moment with some restrictions being lifted but normal life feeling distant. Over the past few weeks, drastic changes to routine has forced us to adapt our social habits and relationships with others. As it stands, we can now meet within groups of up to six people which means we can spend time with family and friends albeit outdoors and from a safe distance. This will go some way in reducing frustrations around lockdown and most certainly a step in the right direction. 

We asked the UK – How do you feel about life after lockdown? 

Readjusting back into what will be a new territory for most is leading people to feel apprehensive. For many of us, the majority of time has been in our homes over the last few weeks. Not much thought has been given to going out to see friends or taking trips but as the lockdown (tentatively) begins to lift we find out more from the UK public and their expectations around dining out and travel in our two-part series, “Life after Lockdown – how the UK really feels”. 

We asked the UK eight questions, question one of the survey concluded that 83% of the UK public are generally feeling some levels of anxiety, with over 10% of those asked feeling “extremely anxious”.

This echoes the BBC article and we’re pretty sure it’s what you expected. We’re hoping to delve a little deeper, in the first part of our series, we’re focusing on consumers’ anticipations towards the hospitality industry. With the second and final part in the series uncovering thoughts on how the UK feels about travel post lockdown.

Has the UK missed eating out?

Yes, a resounding 78% of the people we surveyed have missed eating out. It’s hardly surprising, considering the enjoyment which comes from eating a meal outside of the home. Usually, enjoying restaurant food is paired with a chance to catch up with friends, the quality and variety of dishes is better (unless you’re lucky enough to be locked down with a top chef) and there’s no need to wash up! 

It seems the younger generation are more hungry to enjoy restaurant food.  Our survey asked 18-24 year olds “On a scale of 1-10 how much have you missed eating out?” with 23.7% responding at number 8, 10 being “extremely”. 16% of 25-34 year olds selected 10, alongside 19% of those aged between 35-44. Whereas, according to our survey, those 45+ don’t really miss eating out with 46% stating “not at all” or options towards the lower end of the scale. 

If you’re a restaurant owner, now would be the perfect time to advise consumers what eating out will look like post lockdown. There’s an opportunity to produce content highlighting measures being put into place to keep staff, customers and suppliers safe from Covid-19 when locations are permitted to reopen. Equally, this could be done alongside  new menu launches, exclusive offers for the first few customers through the door, a brand new online booking system to help determine capacity levels, in turn, giving you a chance to ensure relevant social distancing measures are in place. We already know there’s a general air of anxiety about life after lockdown, it’s important to reassure potential visitors with positive and encouraging messages.

What provisions is the UK expecting to be in place before they consider socialising in pubs, bars and restaurants?

To help determine what consumers will be expecting when given the chance to socialise within pubs, bars and restaurants we asked the question, with only 15% of respondents stating they aren’t expecting any provisions whilst others highlighted that there’s work to be done to ensure the expectations of those who visit post lockdown are met.

The hospitality industry has a lot to consider when overcoming the major challenges imposed by Coronavirus. 

Big Hospitality, in part 2 of their  “The Future of Restaurants” series spoke to Dishoom co-founder Shaiml Thakrar, alongside others, to talk about the major challenges the restaurant industry will face post lockdown. Here’s what they found:

On the challenges of having to operate with physical distancing measures in place, Thakrar says that Dishoom has done some modelling in this area and acknowledges that it will make a tough environment in which to operate. Yet he says he is also determined to make it work. 

“It’s going to be hard. I’d like to think the physically distanced Dishoom is still a fantastic experience – we’ll have masks, maybe Perspex screens and ordering will be different, but the music will be good, and the food will taste delicious. 

“It will be an escape into another world.

It’s interesting to see that, although acknowledging the required adaptations surrounding safety measures, customer experience is still a top priority. It’s important to remember this when introducing precautionary measures, which all can be done creatively and professionally if given the proper consideration. By doing this, alongside positive, encouraging marketing messages consumers expectations will be met and they’ll be left with a positive feeling once they’ve taken a huge leap to step outside of (what is now) their new normal and back into an alternate reality. 

Next steps for hospitality 

As with most things we took for granted before Corona, it’s going to be a long game and chances are the industry as we knew it won’t be returning for a while. However, we can keep reviewing what actions need to be taken to move forward. It’s given us a chance to truly reflect on what is worth saving and to nourish what we value.  

If you’re interested in learning more about our data, feel free to contact us for a copy of the complete findings. Equally, we’re more than happy to explore ways we can support you in getting ready for life post lockdown. Across JGM, Shoot the Moon and Eat & Breathe we can support you on a range of services from online booking systems, capacity counters, onsite signage and messaging to photography and digital marketing – we’re fully equipped to support you whilst taking on the new normal.