With over millions of individuals and businesses put at a stand still, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage daily life as we knew it before. One of the most hard-hit areas is the food industry, as diners and even takeaway hopefuls are wary of seeking out outside food due to the fear of the possible spread of contamination. Thus the British Government has initiated its latest scheme, “eat out to help out”.
In areas that have no restricting lockdowns, the scheme is made to encourage customers to come and enjoy visiting restaurants again. In particular, dining in will reward them with up to 50 percent discount for food and drink from Monday to Wednesday. This is all August long to help get the food and hospitality industry back up on its feet. However, the scheme isn’t perfect.
This article looks into the two sides of the coin and also what the future may hold for UK diners everywhere. Business owners and customers alike must look into the scheme to make truly informed decisions and proactively assess the future of dining out in the United Kingdom and even neighbouring countries who may look into it.
Study the following benefits of the eat out to help out scheme and see how it benefits a wide range of key groups from individual employees to the holistic economy:
- Generates much needed revenue for restaurants: Food businesses have been largely damaged financially due to the lockdown and work suspension has forced them to even throw out supplies or downsize their staff. With the renewed scheme however, it encourages many to open their door again and make steady revenue and profit to keep afloat even during this new normal. Due to the current British government’s on the ground initiative, the food industry can survive steadily and can also avoid the approaching economic crisis on the horizon.
- Keeps staff duly financed through their work: Apart from food business owners, staff have also lost a legitimate source of income during the lockdown period. Although there have been some released loans and packages such as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the steady flow of employment is more secure in the long run. As the Chancellor puts efforts into stimulating the food industry, many staff have continued to go back to work and provide for their families.
- Jumpstarts customer engagement among food businesses: Although takeaway or home cooking was largely considered, dining out was certainly a big portion of the food industry. With its return, customers now have the opportunity to at least have some semblance of normalcy prior to the pandemic. It allows them to revisit friends and family by dining together. The variety of options has also sustained healthy competition among competing restaurants and also invited collaborative efforts like group meals or shared discounts. Overall, the steady flow of engagement has reinvigorated the dynamic restaurant scene.
- Stimulates related markets and the economy as a whole: Fresh produce suppliers and hotels with thriving food services have also largely been affected due to the lockdown. The new scheme has thus allowed them to take advantage of jumpstart and has a positive chain impact on the British economy.
Although there are widespread benefits to the scheme, take note of the following drawbacks:
- Questionable especially during a health crisis: The scheme has been tagged as counterintuitive due to its backlash of promoting unhealthy eating habits or irresponsibly promoting the practice of dining out and binge eating. Groups of concern like anti-obesity interest groups and even medical professionals have expressed their sentiments. This scheme can directly raise obesity levels, and thus at the severity of COVID-19 cases, it only adds to the medical complexities. Key officials are thus looking into helping customers make more informed choices by promoting the display of nutritional facts and information boards in restaurants.
- Can reintroduce virus in crowded areas: Although the regulations have been lifted, the questionable move can restart COVID-19 waves as more and more dine out. Although mass gathering has been adjusted in some areas, viral infection can still happen outside their doors as the scheme influences more and more people to go out. This is also currently being taken into reconsideration and the resulting data from the August run can help the Chancellor make big decisions.
In conclusion, the eat out to help out scheme is seen as a good measure to replenish healthy market competition and customer activity, but may also be regarded as a temporary solution. Thus the future challenges that COVID-19 brings to the economy are still very much up in the air and need further assessment.
Want to say duly informed on top food industry news and the best restaurants in London? We at Catering Today have your fix of all things trending and developing about the UK food scene. Stay informed with us and enjoy what the UK has to offer!