Government scheme to attract customers back to bars, cafes and restaurants

Thousands of hospitality outlets across Scotland have signed up to offer government-backed discounts to help attract customers back to their premises.

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 5:15 pm
More than 32,000 restaurants across the UK have now signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. It is open to all establishments that sell food for consumption on the premises including hotels, leisure centres and office canteens. Businesses are being encouraged to sign up now, so they are ready to use the scheme when it starts on August 3, 2020.
Contributed pic
More than 32,000 restaurants across the UK have now signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. It is open to all establishments that sell food for consumption on the premises including hotels, leisure centres and office canteens. Businesses are being encouraged to sign up now, so they are ready to use the scheme when it starts on August 3, 2020. Contributed pic

The Eat out to Help Out scheme, which launched today (Monday, August 3) allows customers to get up to 50 per cent off their bill.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Eat Out to Help Out is a fantastic scheme which will help Scotland’s hospitality businesses get back on their feet. I am very pleased that 3,766 Scottish restaurants, bars and cafes have signed up. This is a great opportunity for people in Scotland to get together with friends and family in a safe environment and get up to 50 per cent off their bill.

“The UK Government is doing all it can to drive our economic recovery, and we want to see all sectors of our economy open again where it is safe to do so.”

The actual number of outlets participating in the scheme is actually higher than 3,766 as this does not count large chains including Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s which are also signed up.

Anyone who goes to a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays throughout August will receive the half price discount – saving money while also helping a sector of the economy which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

The scheme, designed to help promote economic recovery, applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount per person of £10.

The online restaurant finder went live last week and has already attracted more than 3.3 million hits. Apps such as Opentable, Fork and Bookatable are all planning pages to support the scheme.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our Eat Out to Help Out scheme’s number one aim is to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million chefs, waiters and restaurateurs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.

“More than 72,000 establishments will be serving discounted meals across the country, with the government paying half the bill. The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it’s been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support – we’ll pay half.”

There are 1.8 million people employed in hospitality and getting people back into restaurants is vital to protecting their jobs. Some 80 per cent of hospitality businesses stopped trading in April and  1.4 million workers were furloughed, more than in any other sector.

Hospitality businesses have put a range of protective measures in place to safeguard customers and staff, including screens, contactless payment, social distancing, one way walking routes, online booking and reduced capacity.

Eat Out to Help Out scheme is part of the UK’s £30 billion Plan for Jobs, announced last month which also includes VAT cuts for for tourism and hospitality, a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme and an £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.