Published 4 November 2020
by Adam Hyman
Sentiment is a funny old thing isn’t it. Before the first lockdown in March I remember dining out till the very last minute we were allowed to – and sitting in empty dining rooms with a smattering of hardcore diners who weren’t going to be deterred from enjoying a final meal in a restaurant. Little did we know that it would be more than three months until we could do it all over again. I also recall receiving some strongly worded messages from people via social media calling me irresponsible and stupid for still continuing to dine out.
Fast forward seven months and thankfully it seems attitudes have changed, despite our Government taking us into another lockdown tomorrow. Speaking to restaurants, as well as some friends, it seems everyone is keen to get in their final supper at a restaurant before we’re stuck having to cook at home for a month. Lots of restaurants are reporting the busiest trading they’ve had all year, with some seeing record covers thanks to our desire to grab some supper out. On Monday, the CODE app saw double the amount of redemptions it did the week before. Will this help restaurants survive another month of no trading? Maybe. Will it help the spirits of thousands of people in hospitality who are about to be furloughed again seeing happy punters enjoy a final bite to eat? I hope so.
One thing this virus has done since the beginning of the year is play with our emotions, along with our perception of risk. We’ve gone from wiping down our shopping and Amazon deliveries to learning to live with something that clearly isn’t going away. And this is what I find so encouraging from the past couple of days. Yes, we’re going into a lockdown and we find hospitality taking the full brunt of it yet again, but since 4 July we’ve shown customers that not only is it safe to dine out… but experiencing great hospitality is one of life’s great joys.
Despite all the restrictions, we’ve rallied to the bitter end to allow people to break bread, join their bubble for dinner and have a couple more glasses of wine than they perhaps should: more than just enjoyment, it gives us all some hope. And that’s something we all need a bit of right now.
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