Has Eat Out To Help Out Worked?
If you live in the UK, you will have likely heard of the Eat Out To Help out scheme that has been tempting diners out of their homes and into restaurants and cafes in order to keep the economy going.
The discount has offered a cash injection into the hospitality sector that has been essential to many businesses' survival in the past couple of months. However, with the government’s Eat Out To Help Out Scheme coming to an end, we’re asking whether it has worked and whether it will be continued.
What Is The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme?
The Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been running throughout August to help businesses get back on their feet following the loss of business from Coronavirus.
During lockdown, many hospitality businesses had to close altogether and therefore suffered serious profit losses with 80% of venues closing in April, and 1.4 million hospitality workers being placed on furlough at some point since then.
To help these businesses out, restaurants, bars and cafes using the scheme have been able to offer 50% off all food and drinks up to £10, when people dine in Mon-Weds throughout August. The discount could be used for those who are having sit in meals and doesn’t apply to alcohol.
The goal of the scheme was to kick start spending in bars, restaurants and cafes after they have suffered due to COVID-19.
Has The Eat Out To Help Our Scheme Worked?
Yes - the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme can be considered a success in terms of how many outlets used the discount and how many more customers dined out in August. New Treasury stats show that 84,000 outlets used the scheme and that meant that over 64 million meals were subsidised during this period.
The goal was to get people back into local businesses to invigorate the high streets in cities up and down the UK. This has certainly happened over August, however many businesses are now wondering whether it will last.
To counter the end of the scheme some chains like Pizza Hut, Bill’s and Pizza Pilgrims are saying that they will continue with the 50% discount into next month.
What Are The Drawbacks Of The Scheme?
Amongst some of the fears for the scheme are that it has increased the rates of COVID in the UK as people have been leaving their homes more frequently. Of course, this is a natural worry and week on week in July COVID-19 cases did rise, however they seem to be under control despite the scheme having taken place.
Another drawback that critics have noted is that this cash injection into the hospitality sector has created a kind of false sense of security that could leave business owners in a worse state in September when the scheme ends.
The fear is that people have eaten out excessively during August whilst the scheme has been running and in future months they will significantly cut their personal spending which could be problematic.
Will The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme Be Extended?
So far, the government hasn’t commented on whether they will be extending the scheme despite calls from many businesses and the public to keep it running into September and beyond.
The hope is that the scheme will have built people’s confidence in dining out again, and enabled pubs and restaurants to operate as normal following the closure of so many venues over the past few months.
As well as providing a cash injection into the sector, it is hoped that the scheme will change cultural attitudes to eating out, taking non-essential travel trips and will ease people into living normal life again.
Are you looking for more information on how to run a successful business in the hospitality sector post-COVID? Take a look at our whitepaper on The Future Of Foodservice for our key tips and takeaways on how we can all work to rebuild the hospitality sector.