Soho dining

Hospitality venues will welcome back customers to dine al fresco today, 12 April, observing the rule of six as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease in England

Brakes has seen a surge in orders in the past week as its hospitality customers welcome back al fresco diners from today.

The national foodservice wholesaler said its customers were reporting a strong demand for both advanced bookings and continued takeaway services.

It is also expecting a busy shopping period in towns and cities as non-essential retail reopens, which it said would drive footfall and aid the return of pubs, restaurants and cafés in otherwise quieter-than-usual town centre hubs. A relaxation of the rules on additional dining spaces has also boosted bookings, according to the wholesaler.

Brakes has put a raft of measures in place to help hospitality customers “get back on their feet” including slashing the price of 3,500 products, getting rid of a minimum order value and offering al fresco menu advice for driving footfall. Contactless payments and deliveries are also standard across the Brakes estate.

“In addition to the sense of relief that the end may finally be in sight, there is a sense of optimism among our customers and the volumes we’re delivering suggest that the hospitality industry is ready to serve a wave of demand for eating out,” said Brakes CEO Hugo Mahoney. “With some kind weather, April and the May bank holiday weekends could be very busy indeed. A welcome boost for an industry that has endured so much over the past year.”