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Restaurants look to extend success of Eat Out to Help Out

Published:  27 August, 2020

The government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which ends on 31 August, is to be extended by some pubs and restaurants – but without support from the government.

A number of chains – among them Prezzo, Harvester and Pizza Pilgrims – have told the BBC they will persist with the customer discount and fund it themselves, such has been its success.

Pub group Hall & Woodhouse is also extending the scheme across most of its estate until the end of September.

Matt Kearsey, managing director of Hall & Woodhouse, said: “We felt it was important to extend this offer beyond the government’s support and run this offer ourselves, to build on the momentum that has been made across our estate since the easing of lockdown.”

Under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, customers received a 50% discount on their bill, up to a limit of £10 per person, with the restaurant reclaiming the difference from the government. It covered food and soft drinks consumed on premise and did not extend to take-away orders.

There were no limits on how often customers could eat out under the scheme, and more than 64 million diners took advantage of it in the first three weeks of August, according to the latest data from the Treasury released on Tuesday.

Some 84,000 restaurants, pubs or cafés signed up to the scheme, which operated every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.

In central London, major commercial landlord Grosvenor Estate, the property group owned by the Duke of Westminster, has announced it will fund an extension of the scheme for its restaurant tenants in Mayfair and Belgravia until the end of September.

Participating restaurants will be able to recover the cost of the customer discount in the form of reduced rents.

Amelia Bright, executive director of Grosvenor's London estate, said: ”Eat Out to Help Out has been a powerful tool in protecting jobs and local economies UK-wide and we are working hard to help the West End and our tenants recover.

"Continuing it will not only support cafés, restaurants and bars that we lease space to but also help welcome back more visitors and workers to Mayfair and Belgravia.”

Transactions in central London restaurants are down 80% on pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent study.

The hospitality sector as a whole has been the biggest economic casualty of the Covid-19 crisis, plummeting 86.7% in the three months to end of June, according to data from ONS.