Government to pay half on restaurant bills as Eat Out to Help Out scheme launches

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
The half price discount applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks
The half price discount applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks. Photo: Getty

The government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme launches with a pledge to pay up to 50% on customers’ bills at participating restaurants in August.

The discount aimed to “keep more money in hardworking families’ pockets” - applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount of £10 ($13) per person, saving a family of four up to £40.

Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August is eligible to receive the half price discount.

The scheme, which is part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £30bn Plan for Jobs, is aimed to kickstart UK’s economic recovery and boost the hospitality sector following the coronavirus crisis.

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More than 72,000 businesses have signed up to take part in the scheme, including independent eateries and well known restaurants such as Nando’s, Pizza Express and Costa Coffee.

There is no minimum spend and the 50% discount can be used in combination with other offers and discounts.

Customers don’t need any vouchers as participating establishments will automatically deduct 50% from their bills.

Restaurants, pubs and cafes have worked hard to put customers who are worried about eating out at ease by implementing measures such as, social distancing, reduced capacity, protective screens, contactless payments, and one way walking systems.

The scheme aims to protect 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality industry by encouraging Brits to safely return to local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social distancing rules allow.

The government also launched an Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder, to help people find local businesses that are participating, it already has 3.3 million hits since launching last week.

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The coronavirus lockdown forced around 80% of hospitality firms to stop trading, with around 1.4 million workers furloughed - the highest in any UK sector.

Speaking on the scheme, 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.

“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.”

Sunak also announced other measures to protect, support and create jobs including, cutting VAT for tourism and hospitality by 15%, a £2bn Kickstart Scheme and a £8.8bn investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.