Over 35m Eat Out to Help Out meals sold in first two weeks

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Over 35m Eat Out to Help Out meals sold in first two weeks Government Coronavirus Rishi Sunak

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New figures released by the Treasury show that businesses have claimed for over 35m discounted meals since Eat Out to Help Out launched two weeks ago.

More than 85,000 restaurants have now registered for the scheme, which 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 are able to 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.

In total 48,000 claims have been made by businesses under the scheme over the first two weeks, at a cost of £180m to the Treasury. 

The Government has set aside £500m to fund the policy.

Research released yesterday (17 August) by software provider Fourth shows that sales in restaurants increased by 50% between Monday and Wednesday in the opening week of the scheme (3-5 August), compared to the previous week.

The data also shows that there was no drop off in trade later in the week​, when compared with the previous week, despite fears that the scheme would cannibalise weekend trade.

Sales in the second week did dip slightly according to Fourth, with takings down collectively 13% between Monday-Wednesday (10-12 August) when compared with the opening week.

Meanwhile, data from OpenTable shows that restaurants have been on average 27% fuller than they were during the same period (Monday to Wednesday) in August 2019.

"With at least 35m meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector," says Chancellor Rishi Sunak

"To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, which is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today."

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