More than 100m meals claimed in discount scheme

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coronavirus Government Legislation Branding + marketing Food

The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount meals scheme saw more than 100m meals claimed in less than a month, the Treasury has revealed.

The scheme ran between Monday 3 August to Monday 31 August and offered diners a 50% discount on food and soft drinks consumed on-site all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, up to £10 per person.

Some 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme and made 130,000 claims worth £522m , figures released today (Friday 4 September) said.

Venues have until the end of this month to claim back the discount so those numbers are expected to rise even more.

Driving economic recovery

Bookings at hospitality venues rose during the month of August, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak said had helped to protect the jobs of £1.8m people working in the sector.

Sunak described the initiative as stemming from a need “to be creative, brave and try things that no Government has ever done before,” to protect jobs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: “Today’s figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success. I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery.

“The scheme is just one part of our Plan for Jobs and we will continue to protect, support and create jobs to ensure we come back stronger as a nation.”

Bookings increased by an average of 53% on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019, according to data from OpenTable. 

In July 2020, restaurant bookings were down 54% on average from Mondays to Wednesdays compared to July 2019.

Moving forward

On the scheme’s final day, Monday 31 August, bookings were up 216% on the same day the year prior.

Mobile data research showed some areas of the country had benefited from the scheme more than others, with seaside cities experiencing a boost to footfall during the scheme while it had less of an impact in larger cities.

Several pub groups - including JD Wetherspoons and Star Pubs and Bars - have launched a similar early-week discount offer themselves this month.

On the whole, hospitality operators (74%) said they would not be continuing a similar scheme, according to The Hospitality Leaders Poll from Lumina Intelligence.

This comes after the sector had urged the Government to extend its subsided discount, as venues enter a tumultuous autumn trade.

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