More than 35 million meals have been enjoyed by diners across the country in the first two weeks of the government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme.
Data released today also shows that over 85,000 restaurants have now registered for the scheme, including high-street chains such as Wahaca, Joe and the Juice and Pho as well as thousands of small businesses across the UK – including Bundobust (Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester) and Veggie Republic (Liverpool).
Over 48,000 claims have been made by some of these 85,000 restaurants so far and the government is reminding outlets to submit their claims to receive the generous government payback.
This comes days after data from OpenTable showed that restaurants have been on average 27% fuller than they were during the same period (Monday to Wednesday) in August 2019.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s figures show that Britain is eating out to help out – with at least 35 million meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.
“To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, that is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today – it’s free, simple and pays out within five working days.”
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme aims 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 per cent of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.
Stephen Wall, Managing Director and co-founder, Pho, said: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has really been amazing. It’s so nice to see our restaurants full of happy staff and customers again. It has certainly benefitted our early week figures and seems to have encouraged the British public to dine out safely, as our restaurants are filling up and staying busy throughout the weekend, too. “
Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August will receive the half price discount up to £10 per person – keeping more money in hardworking families’ pockets and giving a vital boost to the UK’s hospitality sector.
Marko Husak, Co-Founder, Bundobust: “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 – part of the government’s Plan for Jobs – applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount per person of £10. It could save a family of four up to £40 per meal.