Chefs and Industry Leaders Have Their Say on the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ Scheme
Eat Out to Help Out has been claimed 64 million times since the beginning of August according to data released by HM Revenue & Customs. This equates to one per person for every person in the country.
The £10 per head maximum discount scheme has risen in popularity since it started. The data shows 10.5m meals were claimed in the first week followed by 35m in the second. By the end of the month this had risen to 64m.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This scheme has reminded us how much we love to dine out. Today’s figures continue to show that diners are backing hospitality – with more than 64m meals discounted so far, that’s equivalent to nearly every person in the country dining out to protect jobs.”
HMRC said £336m had been claimed so far. This represents an average discount of £5.25 per head. The scheme runs until the end of August.
Chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL DBA said the scheme has really worked for him, so much so that he’s going to extend it at his own expense for the time being, he said
“Yes, we are indeed keeping the offer open from Tuesday to Saturday at Café Spice Namaste. Situated where we are on the fringe of London’s City district, we have sadly suffered the total decimation of our usual clientele with many offices remaining completely shut.
There is also the added drawback of the 24/7 congestion charge being in place up until 10pm, coupled with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone charge (ULEZ). This means we significantly lose-out from a double whammy. The only saving grace are diners from East London or those travelling by public transport.
The Chancellor’s initiative encouraged people to dine out, enjoying a fantastic discount, we thought this would be the best thing to encourage our customers to raise their confidence and to venture out so that our industry gets the vital boost it needs.”
The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has helped us in bringing new customers to us, as well as showing people that our industry does care and is taking precautions in making sure guests are safe and comfortable.”
Many industry leaders are calling for the scheme to be extended with some claiming that it had already been a success.
Stephen Wall, Managing Director and co-founder of Pho, told The Guardian:
“The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has really been amazing. It’s so nice to see our restaurants full of happy staff and customers again. It has certainly benefited our early week figures and seems to have encouraged the British public to dine out safely, as our restaurants are filling up and staying busy throughout the weekend, too.”
However, it has not all be plain sailing. Simon Hulstone of The Elephant in Torquay revealed on his twitter feed that guests were threatening to never come again if they did not receive the offer on other days:
“So much hate for being full on tues/wed from people. Even threatening to never eat with us again unless they can get £10 off other day !!! Very bizarre behaviour. We are operating with 30% less covers we would love to do more guests.“
Masterchef semi-finalist and South West Chef of The Year, Jamie Rogers of Restaurant Twenty-Seven, Kingsbridge, also based in Devon said that he has really benefited from the scheme saying
“The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has massively helped my restaurant so much that we are doing almost three times the covers we usually do Monday to Wednesday. It’s turned a very uncertain time into a positive for me as an owner, the staff and our much-valued customers. It has also attracted people who wouldn’t normally come as they perceive us to be expensive or fine dining, so its been a great promotion all round – Thank you Rishi and Boris!”
David Page, chairman of Fulham Shore, which owns Franco Manca and The Real Greek, told The BBC:
“Eat Out to Help Out immediately increased our restaurant customer numbers by over 50%, thus enabling us to get all our staff back to work. In fact, we are now creating new jobs.”
According to Sky News the Grosvenor Estate, one of the largest property owners in London’s West End, plans to offer discounted rents for restaurants in its property portfolio that apply £10 per head discounts until the end of September.
Overall, the comments from chefs all over the country have given the scheme a resounding thumbs-up and would like to take this opportunity to thank customers who have participated in the scheme and the government for its support of the hospitality industry at such a difficult time.