POLL: How long would you queue to get into a pub? (Assuming there was no alternative queue-free option)— Curmudgeon (@oldmudgie) June 3, 2020
As you can see, the general reaction was not enthusiastic. The results were fairly similar between pubs and restaurants, although in theory you might expect people to be more willing to do it for restaurants as eating is a necessity, while having a drink isn’t. Indeed there were more people prepared to do it for as long as it takes for pubs than for restaurants.POLL: How long would you queue to get into a restaurant? (Assuming no nearby alternative)— Curmudgeon (@oldmudgie) June 3, 2020
I can quite understand this reaction, as I detest being forced to queue for anything, and have been known to walk out of pubs if I have to wait too long to be served. There is also a conceptual difference from queuing for a supermarket or drive-thru fast food outlet, as in those situations the is a steady throughput of customers, so you can expect to make steady progress, whereas with a pub the customers already inside the building might be settled in for a long session, especially given that pub-crawling will become impossible.
However, even before the lockdown, people were prepared to queue for a long time to gain access to venues like beer festivals or nightclubs where there was a one-out, one situation. And, in recent weeks, we have become inured to queuing in a variety of situations where we never expected to. So the enthusiasm for queuing to get into Wetherspoon’s might well turn out to be greater than the polls suggested. And, when the “non-essential” shops reopen a week on Monday, I would expect to see some very long queues outside the likes of Next and Primark.
I’m not going to comment on the realities of the socially distanced pub until we have a clearer view of what to expect, and when we can expect it.