Eat Out To Help Out

Both the government and participating restaurants have been advertising the Eat Out To Help Out scheme extensively. As we end the second week of the scheme, we ask whether it has been successful, and what is next for the hospitality industry?

What is the Eat Out To Help Out scheme?

Launched at the beginning of the month, you can enjoy a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks with the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. Valid for up to £10 per diner at participating restaurants, from Monday-Wednesday throughout August.

According to CGA’s Consumer Pulse research, just over a third of English consumers returned to restaurants, pubs and bars in the first ten days of reopening after lockdown. The majority of these are younger visitors and trends show people are staying more local. For those yet to return to hospitality, the main concerns are around safety. There are also many sites that have not yet reopened.

Designed to increase business in hospitality venues, the Eat Out To Help Out offer encourages visitors on quieter days. Restaurants can claim the money back from the government, therefore it’s a great way to support your favourite local spots.

Has it worked?

It’s reported that over 73,000 outlets have signed up and UK Hospitality estimates that 93% of eligible businesses are taking part in the scheme. We even have clients who have opened for more days than planned to take advantage. The industry feedback is positive, brands are welcoming the government support and recognising its benefits.

Colin Hill, Chief Executive of Nando’s said, “Eat Out to Help Out has given a welcome boost to the hospitality industry at a time where we are looking to reignite sales, restore customer confidence and protect jobs.”

Furthermore, numbers have been up for Monday-Wednesday trade, clearly evident if you’ve ventured out on these days. It is, however, recognised that the scheme is not a cure and downsides could include reduced spend per head or diluted business on other days. But the overriding feeling is that the more positive experiences people have, the more comfortable they will feel going out in the long-term.

Hawksmoor has received over 15,000 bookings for the 13 days of the scheme across its six restaurants. Will Beckett, Co-Founder said, “Although we’ve seen lower sales due to the lower spend per head, we’re still incredibly happy. Anything that encourages people to leave home and start enjoying restaurants again is great. The industry needs this kind of kick-start at the moment. I think it is a really good example of much-needed government intervention for an industry still in crisis.”

What’s next for the hospitality industry?

The full impact of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme will be clear later in the month. There is no indication yet whether the scheme might be extended or what the government’s next steps are for the hospitality industry. Clearly, this will also be largely dependant on the possibility of an imminent second Covid-19 wave.

Furthermore, as the UK is declared officially in recession for the first time in 11 years, there is uncertainty with regard to consumer spending. Schemes such as Eat Out To Help Out are in our view a great way to encourage more visitors. Most importantly, they build trust for those who are concerned about eating out due to safety.

How can you help?

Quite simply, make the most of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. By taking advantage of the discounts on offer you are supporting the hospitality industry and its 3.2m employees. Not to mention the network of businesses that serve hospitality brands such as ourselves.

The difficult bit? Choosing where to go of course! Check out which of your local restaurants are registered to the scheme here.

With thanks to Fleet Street Communications for providing industry quotes and detail.

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