Scottish hospitality's recovery 'needs support from government' as survey shows backing for price rises
The recovery of the Scottish hospitality sector needs further support from the UK and Scottish governments, and is not just down to consumers, even if some back price rises, a major trade body has warned.
The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), which represents high-profile names including G1 Group, Signature Pubs, and Montpeliers, has commented in response to new data provided by Edinburgh-based ePos Hybrid.
The firm, which specialises in point of sale and payment technology for hospitality venues, has found 39 per cent of consumers in Scotland would be happy for bars, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs to increase their prices if it supports the revival of the industry.
It also found 46 per cent would spend more on a hospitality experience once things return to “normal” if it helps the business get back on its feet.
Andrew Gibbon, head of growth at ePos Hybrid, acknowledged the challenges such firms have faced.
“However, it is very encouraging to see consumers’ willingness to help get the sector back on its feet through continued support and increased spend – something that is essential if the industry is to fully bounce back,” he said.
Furthermore, 43 per cent of Scottish consumers say the pandemic has resulted in them having more loyalty to the hospitality businesses they regularly visit – and 37 per cent say they know somebody who has been affected by the industry's pandemic-related losses.
The survey put the questions to 175 consumers in Scotland in late January out of a larger UK-wide pool of 2,068 respondents.
ePos Hybrid says it was one of the first companies in the UK to offer support to hundreds of companies as they looked to pivot their business models, by offering consumers online ordering and at-home dining experiences.
Mr Gibbon said: “As the industry prepares to open its doors again, we look forward to seeing new technology continue to be adopted to streamline operations, cut costs and in turn, increase profitability, which will be vital for post-pandemic recovery.”
He also deemed the hospitality sector “incredibly resilient”.
Hospitality venues like cafes, pubs and restaurants can start reopening, with restrictions, on April 26.
Commenting on the ePos Hybrid data, SHG spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said: “Hospitality has suffered the worst year of trading in living memory, so it’s promising to see that many consumers support the raising of prices and is clear evidence of the vital role that hospitality plays in our cities and communities.
"There are so many amazing hospitality venues in Scotland that can’t wait to reopen and start welcoming back customers.”
But he stressed that consumers shouldn’t take full responsibility for the recovery.
“As restrictions are slowly lifted and we tackle how to bring back staff, pay wages and get businesses back on their feet, the government also needs to help by allowing the sector to trade viably in each level, which means making small tweaks to operating times and restrictions on alcohol,” he said.
“The sector is also in need of continued financial support from government if we are to make it through the next few months, especially those parts of the industry that have no real timeline for when they can reopen.”
The SHG recently dismissed the idea of vaccine passports or certificates as “totally futile” and warned they would create an age-segregated society.