The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme starts today and runs throughout August. This is a welcome boost for the hospitality sector so badly hit by the lockdown. There remains a very real concern that customer confidence is still low and that diners are not planning to venture out to eat for some time yet. Could this scheme be the incentive the public needs to start to return to restaurants and pubs?
The Scheme means diners will be offered 50% off their bills from Monday to Wednesday with a maximum discount of £10 per person (including children) per meal. A family of 4 could save up to £40 off their bill. The discount applies to food, for immediate consumption on the premises, and to non-alcoholic drink. The discount can not be applied to a service charge. Any discount you are offering at your outlet must be applied before the Help Out to Eat Out discount is applied. The Government guidance includes a number of worked example showing how the discount and £10 cap are to be applied.
The Scheme is open to pubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants where food is consumed on the premises. It could cover cafes at tourist attractions, leisure facilities and workplace canteens. It does not apply to takeaways or mobile food vans.
Note that you can use the scheme if your outlet has an outdoor seating area however, you cannot use the scheme if you operate a takeaway with only informal seating outside on the pavement or other area that is not owned by your outlet. There are more specific examples of who is eligible to operate the scheme in the government guidance here
Operators need to register by 31st August to benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. You will need to register all your outlets at once as you can’t add others on later. The fact that you have already taken advantage of the furlough scheme does not preclude you from registering for this scheme. You can register here
Once you have registered you will be given a registration number that you will need to claim back the discount from the Government. You will be able to claim on a weekly basis and the Government aims to pay within 5 days of receiving your claim. You can find guidance on claiming here
The Government has produced promotional material for operators to print out and use to advertise the scheme to customers so that they know you are a participating outlet. Once you are registered your outlet will also be included in the Government’s online finder tool. Promotional materials can be found here
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.