me&u September Wrap Up: 5 headlines from the hospitality industry last month

September was a big month for hospitality around the globe! Check out me&u's roundup of the key headlines and news from the industry below.

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Monthly sales at UK pubs haven risen back to pre-pandemic levels

Things are looking up for the hospitality industry in the UK. Rising consumer confidence and staycations saw sales at Britain's managed pub, restaurant and bar groups rise above pre-pandemic levels during the month of August. Sales were 5% ahead of August 2019, the first month of year-on-year growth since hospitality reopened in April signalling the start of what many are hopeful will be a springboard for the next 3 months heading into the end of the year. While managed restaurants saw the most sales in the market for the fourth month in a row, bar sales surged 21% showing the most growth in venue type.

NSW and VIC government in AU announce plans for hospitality venues to open up

Our Aussie friends are getting ready to enjoy beers fresh off the tap again. The NSW Government has announced the path out of lockdown for the state, with lockdown and certain restrictions easing for fully vaccinated residents the following Monday after the state hits 70% double vaccinated. This date is set for Monday 11 October, and was pulled forward a week as the state saw a surge in vaccination rates over the past few weeks. Additional freedoms have been announced for when the state hits 80% of the eligible population with double vaccination. The VIC Government has announced similar easing of restrictions for the fully vaccinated population at both 70% and 80% fully vaccinated rates, forecasted to be October 26 and November 5 respectively.

Confidence is up: 60% of consumers in highly vaccinated countries are keen to eat out again

The question on everyone's minds is - what will hospitality look like with growing vaccination rates? While the rates vary between markets, there's one trend that stands out globally: we're desperate to be social again. Customers are becoming more and more confident with the post-pandemic landscape and looking forward to enjoying cultural activities again. Unsurprisingly, with travel off the cards for some markets, eating out and attending live events are at the top of the list for many.

Foot traffic in US fast casual dining is set to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels

Casual dining is coming back. The numbers from the last quarter show customer traffic sitting within 4% of levels from 2019 and many are forecasting this to exceed pre-pandemic benchmarks by the end of summer. Unsurprisingly, US customers are looking to splurge and more upmarket brands are seeing the strongest growth in foot traffic in venues. The good news for venues is that customers are accepting higher prices in their rush to dine out again.

US consumers plan to order more frequently on digital channels post-lockdown

In a world post-lockdown, data shows that US customers are planning to order through apps and websites more frequently. After stay-at-home orders are lifted, customers intend to use digital means for ordering 25% of their meals. With QR codes and mobile check-ins the new norm, customers are expecting ordering and paying to be just as seamless while frequenting venues.