Has “Eat Out to Help Out” saved the UK hospitality sector?

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The UK’s hospitality industry began to emerge from lockdown on 4 July when pubs, restaurants and cafes in England were allowed to re-open. Their Scottish counterparts followed from mid-July.

The end of lockdown didn’t mean an end to the challenges facing the sector, with social distancing rules limiting capacity and customers wary of venturing to indoor spaces while the virus remains a risk.

The UK government therefore designed a scheme to support the restaurant trade. The Eat Out To Help Out scheme offered diners a half price discount on food and soft drinks, up to the value of £10 per person, if they visited a participating business on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August. Diners paid the discounted price and businesses claimed that discount back from the government.

As of 25 August, 84,000 businesses had registered for the scheme and claimed for over 64 million discounted meals.

Data from restaurant booking site OpenTable shows the impact. The chart below shows the growth in seated diners from online, phone or walk-in reservations in July and August, compared to last year’s levels. The August peaks are clustered around the Monday-Wednesday operation of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with the final spike on Bank Holiday Monday.

View Full Article – published by Schroders on 2nd September 2020