Eat Out to Help Out launches today – with government paying half on restaurant bills

By August 3, 2020NEWS

Diners across the UK will see their restaurant bills slashed by as much as 50% from today as the government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially opens for business (Monday 3 August).

  • from today customers will get up to 50% off on bills when visiting participating restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • half price discount will run through August and applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises – with Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s among thousands signed up
  • the scheme, part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, aims to protect jobs in the hospitality sector – which has been hit hard by coronavirus

Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August will receive the half price discount – keeping more money in hardworking families’ pockets and giving a vital boost to the UK’s hospitality sector.

The scheme – part of the government’s Plan for Jobs that will spur the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus – applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount per person of £10. It could save a family of four up to £40 per meal.

More than 72,000 establishments are participating, including independent eateries and family favourites such as Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s.

There have already been over 3.3 million hits on the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder since it launched last week, which shows what businesses are participating in local areas, and many restaurants have since seen a boost in bookings. Apps like 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.

The scheme will help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry’s 1.8 million employees by encouraging people to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.

Many participating restaurants offer healthy and low-calorie options, and the scheme should be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. No vouchers are needed, with the participating establishment deducting 50% from the bill.

People may be worried about returning to eat out. To address these concerns, businesses have prepared to become Covid-secure through, for example, protective screens, contactless payments, social distancing, one way walking systems, online bookings and reduced capacity.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is one part of the Chancellor’s £30 billion Plan for Jobs, announced last month. Other measures announced to protect, support and create jobs include cutting VAT for tourism and hospitality by 15%, a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme and an £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

Further information

  • Find a restaurant that’s registered for the scheme
  • Guidance: Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
  • More information on the Plan for Jobs here
  • There is no minimum spend and the discount can be used at the same time as other offers and discounts. The maximum discount per person is £10. All diners in a group of any size will qualify for the automatic discount.
  • 8% of the UK’s workforce – over 2.4 million people – rely on hospitality, accommodation and attractions for employment. Of this, food and beverage services (pubs, restaurants, cafes etc) account for 1.8 million jobs.
  • 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April and 1.4 million hospitality workers have been furloughed – the highest proportions of any sector. [ONS Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) results, BICS Wave 3: 6 April to 19 April 2020, HMRC, Statistical Bulletin, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Official Statistics – 11 June 2020 Release, Resolution Foundation: the full Monty]
  • Evidence from 2008 suggests that the hospitality sector could be a key contributor to the jobs recovery post-Covid. It generated 22 per cent of new jobs for unemployed people in 2010 and 2011, according to the Resolution Foundation, despite accounting for just 10 per cent of overall employment. [Getting Britain working Safely again, 2020].
  • The sector employs more women than men, 56% and 44% respectively. [ONS Labour Force Survey, June 2020, Graduates in the UK Labour market, 2017]