Introduced at the start of August, the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ has already been used by diners more that 35 million times.
The scheme, designed to help stimulate the economy, offers customers in restaurants, pubs, and cafes up to 50% off their bill. Available Monday to Wednesday throughout the month, the discount appears be transforming restaurant culture.
As the Manchester Evening News reports, the schemes focus on mid-week dining is having a big impact on restaurants’ normal business models. Whilst weekends would normally be the most profitable part of the week, some establishments are experiencing a huge reduction in bookings.
With restaurants in Central Manchester and Altrincham, independently-owned Evuna has seen a 50% drop in the number of bookings for Saturday night, compare to the same weekend last year.
Despite Monday to Wednesday being extremely busy in terms of bookings, the brand has noticed that the overall spend per head is significantly less than at the weekend due to the lack of alcohol being purchased.
Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, is urging the government to extend the scheme past the end of the month. In a recent tweet, he argued: “Stopping this [the scheme] next week, combined with rents due and the phasing out of furlough will be a combined combination leading to closure for many restaurants across the UK.”
Whilst hugely popular, the scheme has been criticised for only benefitting those who would already be able to dine out and promoting a ‘discount culture’ that can be damaging for independent eateries.
You can find out which restaurants, bars and pubs are taking part here.