Restaurant and pub operators such as Nando’s, Oakman Inns and Hawksmoor, have praised the new Eat Out to Help Out scheme as a “great example of government support” after seeing sales improvement during its first week.
Eat Out to Help Out offers customers 50% off their food or non-alcoholic drinks up to £10 per person from Mondays to Wednesdays throughout August. The latest figures show over 73,000 individual outlets have signed up to the scheme.
Trade association UKHospitality estimates that 93% of eligible sector businesses in the country are involved, with some operators saying the scheme has encouraged them to open earlier or for more days than originally planned. KAM Media suggests that 35.6m consumers are likely to take advantage of the scheme during August.
Operators across the country have reported “significant double-digit” increases in like-for-like sales, compared to last year, with tables in high demand for the rest of the month.
Colin Hill, chief executive, Nando’s UK and Ireland, 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.
“We’ve been busy so far this week, welcoming many new and existing customers back into our restaurants which is encouraging to see. It’s too early to tell the long-term success of the initiative due to the many challenges that we still have to navigate in the weeks and months ahead, but so far it has proven popular with our customers.”
Peter Borg Neal, founder of pub group Oakman Inns, added: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been fantastic for us – we have been over twice as busy as we were this time last year. It is great to see people socialising in a safe environment and the scheme is clearly protecting jobs.
“Moving forward, further financial help is needed to protect pubs and restaurants who have accumulated debt, such as rent, if we’re going to save those businesses and their jobs.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said the Eat Out to Help Out scheme provides a “much-needed boost” for many vulnerable hospitality businesses and that the sector and customers have been “quick” to adopt the scheme .
“with many newly social-distanced venues now booked up. We hope that people continue to enjoy a fantastic dining out experience at a significant discount throughout the rest of August,” she added.