The reopening of the Horeca was two months ago: the Belgians are back in the restaurant, but sparingly …

It has now been two months since the Belgian Horeca, too long paralyzed by the health crisis, was able to reopen its doors. How did the Belgian population respond to this reopening of the sector?

It seems that the appetite of Belgians is back, even if it is presumed: almost 40% of them say they want to return to the restaurant in August, against 23% in November 2020. 48% even foresee, to go back to eat at restaurants as often as before the onset of the pandemic, which should delight many professionals in the hotel and catering industry… This is, at least, what emerges from a survey by Lightspeed, a shopping platform, among of 1,024 Belgians, carried out in July 2021.

Nevertheless, the regulars are still feeling their way. Visiting restaurants on a weekly basis is not yet for now: barely a quarter of them (24%) will go to restaurants every week this summer.

Those who will go there regularly do so mainly for “catch up” (16%) or because they “fear that the restaurant industry will close its doors again after the summer” (7 %).

The brakes? According to Philippe Khodara, product manager at Lightspeed, several reasons explain the reluctance of the Belgians. “While many consumers are eager to return to their favorite bar or restaurant, this survey shows that many Belgians do not have the financial means to make up for lost time. But the good news is that a quarter of Belgians eat out at least once a week at restaurants and 10% even say they eat three times a week or more. This consumer support is extremely important for the local restaurant industry. “

Cash supplanted. In a sustainable way?

Another striking fact, and undoubtedly lasting: when it comes to payment methods, 4 out of 10 Belgians (38%) say that they will give up going to a restaurant if they cannot pay by card. Only a quarter of customers still prefer to pay in cash. Saving time and hygiene (due to contactless) are mainly cited to justify this figure.

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