Restaurant spending revealed as Central Bedfordshire residents eat out
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Customers in Central Bedfordshire were happy to pick up the bill last week, figures suggest, as spending in restaurants rose when diners were allowed indoors.
But 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 14,000 customers in Central Bedfordshire in the seven days to May 23, as they sat down inside restaurants and cafes for the first time this year.
Diners spent 25 per cent more over this period than they did the previous week when only outdoor dining was permitted, with one bill coming to a hefty £862.35.
However, spending was still 21 per cent 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 per cent.
Despite reopening, many establishments will be unable to have a full house until June 21, when all legal limits on social contact are due to be lifted in England.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is too early to say whether the easing of all restrictions will still go ahead as planned.
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.”