"The industry needs this kind of kick-start" - restaurateurs hail Eat Out to Help Out response

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chefs restaurateurs hails response to Eat Out to Help Out Hawksmoor Tom Kerridge Nando's

Related tags Eatouttohelpout Restaurant Tom kerridge Hawksmoor

Chefs and restaurateurs have hailed the initial success of the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme as an important first step in giving consumers confidence to return to restaurants.

The scheme, which launched earlier this week, is aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out.

Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments who use the scheme will offer a 50% reduction, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all diners who eat and/or drink-in on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.

It can be used by diners who order food and/or drinks for consumption on the premises, however, alcohol is excluded from the offer.

According to recent HMRC figures, more than 72,000 restaurants across the UK have now signed up to participate in the initiative. 

They include steakhouse group Hawksmoor, which is offering a 300g rump steak with chips and a sauce for £10 under the scheme, and has received more than 15,000 bookings across its six restaurants between Mondays and Wednesdays in August. 

“Although we’ve seen lower sales due to the lower spend per head, but we’re still incredibly happy – everyone loves having busy restaurants and lots of new people are coming in and trying Hawksmoor for the first time, or finding a way to come back that they can afford at the moment," says co-founder Will Beckett.

"Anything that encourages people to leave the home and start enjoying restaurants again is great.

"The industry needs this kind of kick-start at the moment.

"I think it is a really good example of much-needed government intervention for an industry still in crisis.”

Chef Tom Kerridge, whose two-Michelin starred Marlow gastropub The Hand and Flowers and one-Michelin starred pub The Coach (also in Marlow) have both signed up to the scheme, says similar.

“It’s been great for the industry.

"We all love the sound of glassware and crockery being used and happy people in restaurants.

"We’re all looking forward to the stage where we can stand on our own two feet again, and this has been helpful support in the meantime.”

Trade body UKHospitality estimates that 93% of eligible sector businesses in the country are involved, with some operators saying the scheme has encouraged them to open earlier or for more days than originally planned.

Some 3.3m people have used the Government online restaurant finder, and research by insight agency KAM Media suggests that 35.6m consumers are likely to take advantage of the scheme during August.

“Eat Out to Help Out has given a welcome boost to the hospitality industry at a time where we are looking to reignite sales, restore customer confidence and protect jobs," says Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK & Ireland.

"We’ve been busy so far this week, welcoming many new and existing customers back into our restaurants which is encouraging to see.

"It’s too early to tell the long-term success of the initiative due to the many challenges that we still have to navigate in the weeks and months ahead, but so far it has proven popular with our customers.”

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