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Saturday 21 May 2022

How has on-premise performed since Covid restrictions were lifted?

12th May 2022 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

Covid confidence is growing but a reduction in disposable income must now be reckoned with.

On-premise visitation continues to increase as Covid-19 concerns dissipate, with a significant proportion of New Zealand consumers visiting more than usual, according to a survey from CGA.

The latest monthly Consumer Pulse report from the international foodservice and hospitality research firm, which surveyed 500 New Zealand respondents, found that 90% of consumers visited on-premise in April since Covid restrictions were lifted.

The My Vaccine pass requirement for entry to hospitality ended on 4 April, and the country moved from the red to orange setting of the Covid-19 Protection Framework on 13 April.

Although there were still concerns surrounding Covid-19, they were declining, according to CGA, which found that just 15% of all consumers visited the channel less for this reason – down from almost a quarter during March.

CGA said a reduction in disposable income was the greater driver of reduced visitation and could impact the number of spontaneous visits consumers make to the channel.

“Operators and suppliers should look to target these financially prudent customers with smart promotions and other offers to help drive footfall,” the report said.

Spontaneous visits, which currently comprised a 42% share of all occasions, had been boosted in April by fewer restrictions in place at 35%, growing confidence in going out at 37%, and the influence of friends and family at 41%.

The majority of on-trade visits last month at 58% were pre-planned however, which offered drinks suppliers an opportunity to potentially engage consumers before they visit and specifically during the pre-booking process.

This is particularly relevant for the 57% of consumers that pre-book online or via an app.

CGA said its teams in Europe had seen some suppliers be very successful at winning the “first drink order” with this strategy.

Looking to the month ahead, just 20% of consumers have already fully planned when and where they will go out in the next month, meaning 80% of all on premise visits over the next month are still to be influenced in some way by suppliers and operators.

Some 87% of consumers are pre-booking within just a week of their visit “highlighting that local marketing, event promotion and tactics to drive footfall must be swiftly executed and precisely targeted”.

With many people travelling differently now compared to pre-pandemic, the majority of consumers are visiting the on-premise close to home, with 63% choosing venues within a 10-20 journey by transport and 25% visiting outlets within walking or cycling distance last month.

Comfort and lingering concerns around Covid-19 are the main drivers for this ‘local’ mindset, CGA said.

While city centres are still the most popular location for on premise visits, it is clear that frequency is still not back to pre-pandemic levels, it added.

“The Path to Purchase is fundamentally different now for consumers in New Zealand,” Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas & Asia Pacific, said.

“As consumers shift their preference in venues towards those that are more local, and for many this means suburban, suppliers should look to reflect the type of experiences consumers are used to experiencing in city centre venues.

“For suppliers of premium brands, exploration categories and trade-up options such as cocktails, premium wine and champagne, this is particularly relevant to ensure they can capitalise on increased visitation and a growing level of confidence in returning to the channel.”



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