As cafes, restaurants and pub businesses across Warrington make preparations to reopen their doors from Saturday 4 July, consumers say that it’s the food and drink experience of the town centre that they have been missing most during lock down and that outdoor pavement dining would be popular. A consumer survey by Warrington BID reveals that nearly 70 per cent of people missed eating, drinking and meeting friends for a coffee. 40 per cent said they missed going to a bar or a pub for a drink.
Warrington BID carried out the Back in Town Covid-19 Consumer Survey in April to find out how visitors felt about returning to the high street as restrictions are slowly lifted. Over 300 people responded, nearly half under the age of 55.
The results are released as Warrington BID works with Warrington Borough Council to make contact with all hospitality businesses across the borough to establish their plans to reopen. Officers from both organisations are reaching out to food and alcohol licensed premises to find out what support they need in preparing to reopen their doors with regard to new outdoor eating and drinking spaces and carrying out Covid-19 risk assessments. Businesses are being contacted by email and telephone and asked to provide information on a simple online questionnaire.
The survey shows that consumers would prefer to meet outside (44%) and spend less time in shops (48%). 36% said they would prefer to use outdoor markets and street food caterers which would make these events popular as a way of animating the town as long as distancing measures were in place including contactless payment methods.
Planning is underway for an outdoor food and drink court at Golden Square and al fresco facilities at the new Warrington Market.
Warrington BID Manager, Harriet Roberts said, ‘It’s important that we support the hospitality trade to get back in town as safely and smoothly as possible so that they can reopen from Saturday 4 July. Our fantastic range of pubs, cafes and restaurants is what makes Warrington town centre such a social experience for shoppers and workers, increasing both footfall, dwell time and basket spend. We welcome Warrington Borough Council’s efforts to support businesses by discussing their requests to provide pavement cafes and al fresco dining. We would urge all venues to respond to the information request we have sent out so that we can work together to create new usable spaces wherever possible quickly, fairly and safely.
Businesses need to complete the questionnaire here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Warringtonpostcovid
The results of the survey can be found here:
Warrington is Happening
Back in Town Covid-19 Consumer Survey, April 2020
309 completed questionnaires to a survey on Warrington BID website promoted through social media. Nearly half of the respondents were aged between 35-54. 22% over 55 years.
Hungry for Hospitality
Meeting, eating and coffee are what people have missed most about visiting the town centre. Out of 309 respondents, 67 per cent missed going out to a restaurant or pub for a meal, 52 per centre said they missed meeting friends for a coffee and 40 per cent said they missed going to a bar or a pub for a drink.
The survey showed that when the high street reopens 35% said their visit will be shorter, they would prefer to meet outside (44%) and spend less time in shops (48%). 30% of people said that they would the number of people they visit the high street with. 36% said they would prefer to use outdoor markets and street food caterers which would make these events popular as a way of animating the town as long as distancing measures were in place including contactless payment methods.
The lockdown appears to have created a heightened sense of feeling part of the community (40%) with 50% saying they would support their local businesses more, shopping locally to feel safer (46%). The high street as the heart and hub of the community has become a stronger value for 37% of respondents with an appreciation of the value of shopping local and having a pride in their town and neighbourhood. People may be reluctant to travel to the big cities of Manchester and Liverpool with 37% saying that they would prefer to travel and commute less.
Greener Cleaner Values
Less grey and more green would encourage more footfall in the town centre with 60% welcoming more planting and green spaces. Nearly 80% asked for an increase in cleaning and sanitisation. 66% wanted to see more seating which may be linked to the high number wanting hospitality to return and safe distancing ways to meet friends to socialise with food and drink. Heightened security is also a priority for 34%.
Safety & Security
Other priorities and concerns were about removing chuggers, town centre begging and anti-social behaviour referred to as ‘druggies and alcoholics’.