As the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme comes to an end on bank holiday Monday, 31 August, some restaurants have decided to take matters into their own hands by launching their own spin-off extension.
The month-long scheme was launched as part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Plan for Jobs to kickstart the UK economy after the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close during lockdowns.
Around 84,000 restaurants have signed up to the scheme, which offers a maximum discount of £10 ($14) per customer on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.
Brits enjoyed more than 64 million meals, in the programme’s first three weeks, according to government data.
It launched on 3 August with the government pledging to foot up to 50% of customers’ bill. There is no minimum spend and the 50% discount can be used in combination with other offers.
Customers don’t need any vouchers as participating establishments will automatically deduct 50% from their bills, while firms are able to reclaim the government’s payment through a HMRC portal.
It has been such a hit that restaurants, including Pizza Hut, Bill’s and Pizza Pilgrims have said they will continue with the 50% discount next month, despite the state-backed scheme coming to an end.
Bill’s said it will keep offering the discount through September, and announced it will also launch a discounted set menu starting at £10.
Last week, takeaway delivery giant Deliveroo also announced that it will offer customers a discount in September to encourage them to “eat in to help out”, after the subsidy scheme ends.
Deliveroo said will offer £5 off an order of £20 or more during the first three days of each week in September.
On Wednesday, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) became the latest organisation to call on the government to extend the scheme into September after hailing its success.
The hospitality sector was one of the industries worst hit by the virus, with 80% of firms halting trading and 1.4 million workers being furloughed in April.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 26.6% of hospitality workers remained on furlough in the two weeks to 9 August.
The scheme’s aim was 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.
Customers who wish to dine out on Bank Holiday Monday (31 August) will still be entitled to 50% off their meals if they eat at participating restaurants.