Eat Out to Help Out has increased footfall and improved sales

Rishi Sunak on Twitter: "Great to pop down to @wagamama_uk after ...

Britons dined out nearly 11 million times last week as the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme unfolded.

The initiative, devised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his Treasury team, is has been designed to stimulate Britain’s ailing economy. Hospitality is among the sectors worst hit by the pandemic.

Sunak has set aside around £500 million to pick up half the bill for diners who patronise restaurants on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays throughout August.

Diners receive 50 per cent off up to the value of £10 per head at participating restaurants. More than 90,000 signed up in the first week.

Mr Sunak told the newspaper the figures are “amazing” and said they were “proof [his] plan for jobs is delivering”.

Springboard, experts in measuring footfall in Britain’s high streets, said the number of people in retail destinations surged by 18.9 per cent after 6pm last Monday compared with the week before. Lunchtime visits were up by 9.6 per cent.

Last week also saw sales increase year-on-year for the first time in 2020 – by 2 per cent – which is startling considering the circumstances under which restaurants are operating.

The figures undoubtedly show Sunak’s plan is having a positive impact. What happens in September, however, remains to be seen.

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