Hospitality customers most concerned about hygiene standards at pubs and bars

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With the hospitality sector reopening its doors to customers as COVID-19 restrictions ease, pubs and bars are most in danger of missing out on key trade due to poorly perceived hygiene and infection control standards.

According to research undertaken by infection control specialist, JLA, pubs and bars currently hold the lowest levels of public approval with regard to hygiene and infection control, with 22.2% of survey respondents viewing pubs and bars as having “poor” hygiene and infection control standards, and only 38.6% currently holding a positive opinion.

Conversely, according to the nationally representative survey into 2,000 members of the public, restaurants hold the best public reputation for hygiene in the hospitality sector, with 52.8% of consumer respondents happy with standards in these businesses, and only 12.2% having a poor opinion.

Hotels rank better than pubs and bars but worse than restaurants, with 45.8% of those surveyed believing that hygiene standards are currently either “good” or “excellent” and just over an eighth (12.2%) of customers hold a negative opinion.

It is clear that having a strong reputation for hygiene and infection control is now critical to public trust, with the report also highlighting that 77% of the public hold greater concerns in this area compared to the year previously – attributing this change directly to COVID-19.

The same research also showed that if a hospitality business had a poor reputation in regard to hygiene, 65.1% of the public would never use the business again due to the heightened infection risk.

JLA carried out the research as part of its “Infection Insights” campaign to improve customer reassurance and peace of mind across the hospitality industry as businesses in the sector begin to re-open their doors to the public.

Ben Gujral, CEO at JLA, commented: “Unfortunately, hospitality is among the sectors hardest hit by the financial fallout of COVID-19. One in 10 consumers have not visited a pub, restaurant or hotel since lockdowns began, highlighting the importance of providing reassurance to loyal customers that may currently be reluctant to return.

“With public attitudes towards hygiene and cleanliness becoming even more prominent, hospitality establishments must be mindful that hygiene and infection control are no longer “nice to have” but instead an absolute necessity for hospitality businesses looking to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

“Pubs, bars and the hospitality sector as a whole should take the opportunity to do what they can to demonstrate a priority for infection control that keeps both their staff and customers as safe as possible. This could be the deciding factor in the success of a hospitality business post COVID-19.”

For more information about JLA, the research findings and for products which can help with infection control, please visit: https://jla.com/knowledge/icir-2021-hospitality

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