The government recently announced its Eat Out to Help Out scheme, aimed at helping restaurants and eateries recover as we ease out of lockdown.
We’ve covered what the scheme is, how to get involved, and other discount schemes independent restaurants may want to get involved in to promote their business and bring customers back through the second half of the year.
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Eat Out to Help Out is a government initiative where diners can get 50 per cent off their meals, with the government footing the bill for the second half of the cost.
There is a cap of £10 for each person, but it applies to all food and soft drinks orders that are eaten “on premises” – it doesn’t extend to food that's taken away.
According to the government’s website, businesses that may be eligible for the scheme are “those in which food is sold for immediate on-premises consumption.” This could include:
If it’s not clear whether or not your business could be included in the scheme, have a look at the government’s specific examples of what is and isn’t eligible.
The scheme will run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August 2020, starting on 3 August and ending on 31 August.
There's no usage limit within the timeframe it’s active, meaning you could use it multiple times a day on Mondays through Wednesdays during August.
You’ll need to register your business on the government’s website if you want to take part.
To register, you'll need:
You may also need your:
Once you register, you’ll have to pass the fraud and compliance checks the government run before you’ll be accepted into the scheme.
To get the money back from the government, you'll need to keep a record of your sales. This includes the:
The system for claiming back the costs hasn't launched yet, and it's not scheduled to be available until 7 August. This is what the government has said about the claims process:
As the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is only running for one month, you may want to consider other discount schemes.
Of course, unlike Eat Out to Help Out, you won’t be able to claim back the discount costs, but it may be worth it to encourage diners to visit as we move into autumn.
Three of the main dining discount schemes in the UK are Tastecard, Hi Life Diners, and The Gourmet Society.
Tastecard describe themselves as “the UK’s largest dining club”. Restaurants who sign up to participate offer two-for-one meals, or 50 per cent off.
As well as an incentive to visit your restaurant, Tastecard have a lot of brand loyalty, claiming that 78 per cent of their 2.5 million members only eat at restaurants that are registered with Tastecard.
Hi Life Diners works slightly differently, with members getting 20 per cent off their bill, but they’re able to use the card at any time they like – including weekends.
The Gourmet Society is closer to Tastecard, offering two-for-one meals, 50 per cent off the food bill, or 25 per cent of the total bill. This gives a bit more flexibility for businesses that are more focused on drinks than they are on food.
All of the above are part of The Dining Club Group, which offers a variety of packages for food and drinks businesses. Tastecard, for example, is free to join, but some of the other options have a price attached.
Another way to engage diners is to start offering takeaways. While ordering in will have been a staple of lockdown for some, others will have been more cautious, or won’t have had the disposable income. So if you’re not already offering takeaways, now is a good time to consider it.
If you’re not able to provide the delivery service yourself, you can sign up with the likes of Deliveroo, Uber Eats, or Just Eat and they will do the delivery for you, for a cut of the bill.
While it will cost you to get your business onto these platforms, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience than you otherwise would – especially with many still cautious about eating out.
Will you be using Eat Out to Help Out? Got another plan to bring customers in? Tell us all about it in the comments.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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