City centre businesses set for financial boost in wake of Covid restrictions easing

The new Five Guys restaurant in St Peter's Street, St Albans.

The new Five Guys restaurant in St Peter's Street, St Albans. - Credit: Matt Adams

Thousands of pounds could be pumped into St Albans' lunchtime economy by workers returning to the office, according to new research.

With the return to Plan A, and a move away from home working, we're set to be spending more in our local coffee shops, takeaways and supermarkets over the coming months.

Even if staff only spend two days a week at their desks, the average worker will spend £1,258.56 each a year, based on the average price of a morning coffee at £2.71 and £6 on lunch, plus any associated transport costs.

The news has been welcomed by city centre businesses.

Sameer Berry, of Infuse Modern Indian Bistro in Waddington Road, said: “We are looking forward to more offices reopening as we get increased lunch orders – both dine in and take out and also bookings for impromptu after-work get togethers - when people decide to head out after a day in the office.

"The biggest thing we are missing, which has gone to zero since Covid, is the big work gatherings and office parties. After such a tough time, our high street is ready to be busy again, and offices reopening are key in that success.”

Oliver Zissman, co-owner of Leafy and a director on the board of St Albans BID (Business Improvement District), added: “The return of office workers will be hugely welcomed by our retail and hospitality businesses who have suffered huge losses due to the impacts of remote working.

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"The higher daytime footfall will undoubtedly increase revenue with improved lunchtime trade, but it will also add energy and vibrancy to our city centre and positively impact our night-time economy, which is key to a healthy city centre economy.”

Inside Leafy in St Albans.

Inside Leafy in St Albans. - Credit: Leafy

The research was carried out by Frank Recruitment Group, and their president Zoe Morris said: “There’s a huge range of businesses that will benefit from workers returning to the office.

“Even further beyond the 9-5 are the people working to get us into our cities, serving us post-work drinks and meals - there’s an entire support network around the desk-based workforce that we don’t often think of.”