The Eat Out to Help Out scheme to encourage the struggling restaurant sector was announced as part of the Chancellor’s Summer Economic announcements. The scheme was designed to help restaurants recover from the effects of the lockdown and has been a great success.
The scheme was launched on 3 August 2020 and was available every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The last day you can benefit from the scheme is 31 August 2020. In the first two weeks of the scheme over 35 million meals were enjoyed across the country with over 85,000 restaurants taking part.
Meals that were eaten in at any participating restaurant on the designated days were discounted by 50% up to a maximum discount of £10 per head including children. The discount also applied to non-alcoholic drinks but could not be claimed on alcoholic drinks or service charges.
One restaurateur commented that:
'The response to Eat Out to Help Out has been phenomenal. Even though venues are operating at reduced capacity and with smaller teams following more thorough safety measures, we’re still managing to serve a similar number of customers on Mondays – Wednesdays that we were this time last year. That makes a huge difference to independents like us.'
The scheme aimed to help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry’s 1.8 million employees by encouraging people to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow. Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.
It will be interesting to see if any further measures are announced to help this sector once the scheme closes.