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On Monday 12 April 2021, pub gardens in England reopened, and the demand among the general public was remarkable.

Data analysis from hospitality software business, Stampede, shows that English pubs welcomed almost as many customers as they did when allowed to reopen after the first lockdown on 4 July 2020 – despite operating at severely reduced capacity. Meanwhile, more people in the UK Googled 'pub garden', 'pub table', 'pub booking', and 'drinks outside' than in any time in history – as people desperately scrambled to find free outdoor tables.

Across a sample of 400 pubs between 12-18 April 2021, Stampede found that venues were operating at 79.69% of the volume of customers seen by pubs when they first reopened between 4-10 July 2020. However, it is worth noting that last week was still less than a quarter of the level of trade reported in late August 2020 – meaning there’s still a long road back to normal.

The fact that April’s numbers are so close to July 2020’s reopening trade is a promising sign for pub owners, considering that they are operating at significantly reduced capacity, for outside tables only.

The Stampede data demonstrates how cautiously the sector reopened last year, and how the vaccinee rollout has contributed to people feeling far more confident about going to the pub this time around.

Stampede is part of Prep Starts Now, a campaign to help hospitality venues reopen in a better position with the right tools and technology so they can recover quickly from one of the most difficult trading periods in recent history.

“Last week was hugely promising, and a welcome relief for English pub owners, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Stampede CEO and Founder, Patrick Clover. “The sun is shining in many parts of the country and people feel more confident about going to the pub than they did during reopening last year. I suspect when venues can reopen indoors, we will see trade levels booming and far surpassing the numbers we saw in July 2020.

(source: Stampede, image: pexels)