On-trade retail is finally fully reopening on the 17th May and the country is more than eager to get back to their favourite drinking spots. As we’ve seen recently after the reopening of outdoor hospitality, this will be a very busy time for the industry. This is why it’s even more important that you have a clear understanding about any potential changes that have happened during lockdown. Prices, availability and even the customer experience will have changed. Find out how you can get a clear view of what’s going on in hospitality across the country with our dynamic on-trade solutions.

On-trade has changed

This has been a long lockdown, with hospitality shut since January. It’s only recently that outdoor seating has been allowed in pubs bars and restaurants which is providing a glimpse at how busy hospitality will be when it fully opens on the 17th May. According to data from CGA, pubs, bars and restaurants that were able to reopen partially on the 12th April saw sales rise to 58.6% when compared to sales on the same day in 2019. 

The rise in sales is likely to increase even more on the 17th, as according to Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association: “29,000 pubs are still not able to open either because they don’t have any outdoor space or simply because they will not be commercially sustainable. It will mean just 17% of our pubs’ capacity will open from April.”

A huge 77% of our Shepherds also have plans to head to indoor hospitality once it’s open.

Data from a Shepherd survey

After the on-trade reopening, things will have changed. You won’t have clarity over product availability and if establishments have changed suppliers without you knowing, or even if pricing has been changed. Moreover, new Covid-19 rules and regulations mean that customer experience is now different. Your brand might not be visible in the same ways as it was before lockdown. It’s also a question of whether some venues will open at all after the 17th or if they are planning to reopen at a later date.

Get answers to your questions with real-time data

Shepper can help you get a clearer idea of what’s going on once on-trade fully reopens with our real-time, covert audits.

Our network of hyper-local people, we call Shepherds, are each within 5 minutes of the locations you need checking. You tell us what data you need and where and we’ll mobilise our Shepherds to collect it. They complete checks using their smartphone, answering questions and taking photos in a tried and tested template. 

Our checks are cost effective while still providing quality, reliable data. Each data point is reviewed by our Quality Assurance team before we push it to your custom dashboard. Find out more about how it works here.

Check for compliance

When it comes to on-trade reopening, getting up-to-date data on your retail execution is essential. For example, with table service now mandatory until further government guidance, customers will now be much more exposed to your brand through the menu rather than at the bar. This can affect how they engage with your product – we asked our Shepherds how more visible pricing on the menu changes their behaviour.

We can help you check this as part of our 4Ps Compliance product. We’ll provide you with crucial data and insights on everything from planogram compliance to product availability and positioning. 

We can help you check for compliance across the 4Ps: Product, Promotion, Price and Positioning. Check everything from compliance to the planogram to product availability and positioning. Find out more about this product in our retail brochure.

Check the customer experience

The ‘new normal’ of hospitality can also affect customer experience negatively. The mandatory table service rule and need for venues to have apps or digital menus can make customers frustrated if there are technical difficulties. Staff friendliness and a welcoming atmosphere is arguably even more important now. With the UK population shut away inside for months, going back to busy social situations may be daunting to customers. We asked our Shepherds how important they feel staff friendliness is when visiting a pub.

Data from a Shepherd survey


To help you review and understand customer experience, we developed our product “Perfect Serve”. We can help you assure that your specific guidelines on how to perfectly serve your customers is being adhered to across the country. By doing so, we’ll help you deliver a consistent, high-quality experience in the post-pandemic environment.