Are you inclined to take up the Government’s offer – ‘Eat Out To Help Out’?

The meal discount scheme which runs between Mondays and Wednesdays throughout August was launched by the Government this week in an effort to try and boost the economy after the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme offers 50% off eat-in meals, including non-alcoholic drinks, up to a maximum of £10 per diner, in a range of pubs, restaurants and cafés.

Vouchers are not required for customers but those eateries participating in the scheme will deduct 50% from the bill and charge the discount to the Treasury.

More than 72,000 establishments are taking part in the discount scheme including high street names such as Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Franco Manca, Fullers, Greene King, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Wagamama and Wetherspoon.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality hopes that customers will be tempted back by the scheme. She believes that confidence is key to securing the future of the hospitality sector.

According to the Treasury, around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector in the UK.

“We hope that as many people as possible take this one-off chance to have a fantastic experience at a significant discount and rediscover eating out throughout August.” Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality

Yet the accountancy and business advisory firm HW Fisher reports that many companies are worried that the scheme will actively encourage customers to spend less.

Mr Nathan from HW Fisher said the scheme had initially been “warmly received” by the industry but added: “Restaurants fear that the discounting will actively encourage customers to spend less, to fit within the limits.

“Many are already down to as little as 50% capacity due to social distancing, so the last thing they can afford is significant reduction in the average customer spend.

“Then on top of that is the admin of processing it and the deferred reimbursement at a time when cashflow is critical to their weekly survival.”

However, Mark Holmes, a restaurant owner from the Isle of Wight believes the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme will revive the hospitality industry and says the Government are doing all they can to help business owners get through the crisis.

Mr Holmes said the coronavirus pandemic has left the industry “on its knees” and added: “I think the scheme is a really good incentive.”

What are your views? Will you be taking advantage of the discount scheme and ‘Eat Out To Help Out’?

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