Eat Out to Help Out: Shopping areas boosted in first week

Eating Out IS Helping Out! Town centre shoppers surged by 25% after 6pm in first days of August compared to last week of July as thousands dined out on Rishi Sunak’s meal deal scheme

  • New scheme gave shopping areas a boost in footfall in its first week in action
  • Eat Out to Help Out gives diners 50% off in meals eaten inside restaurants
  • Number of people in retail destinations surged by 18.9% after 6pm last Monday
  • But retail body behind the figures showing the increase warned jury was still out

Rishi Sunak‘s Eat Out to Help Out scheme has served up a huge 25 per cent increase in people going out – but most diners picking the evening to eat mean neighbouring shops may not see the benefit.

Hungry Brits locked down during the Coronavirus pandemic found the scheme’s ingredients of up to £10 on Monday to Wednesday irresistible.

The drive saw the number of people in retail destinations surge by 18.9% after 6pm last Monday compared with the week before, with market towns seeing 25 per cent more.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, pictured at a Wagamama, launched the scheme in July 

Retail experts said the jury was out on whether it would successfully boost retail sales

Retail experts said the jury was out on whether it would successfully boost retail sales 

But retail expert Diane Wehrle warned it was too soon to be able to tell if scheme would be enough to boost the economy enough on its own.

She said: ‘The jury is still out regarding the benefit of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which launched last week, although there were rises in footfall on each day between Monday and Wednesday from the week before.

‘It is clear that it was the post 6pm period that yielded the greatest rise in footfall, and also that smaller towns benefited more than large city centres.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme sees bills slashed by 50% on all eat-in meals giving up to £10

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme sees bills slashed by 50% on all eat-in meals giving up to £10

Statistics from Springboard showed a week on week increase but huge drops from last year

Statistics from Springboard showed a week on week increase but huge drops from last year

Q&A: When is Eat Out to Help Out on and do I need a voucher?

When is it available?

It runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from August 3 to 31.

What is it?

A 50 per cent discount when you eat in up to a maximum saving of £10 per diner. The business reclaims the value of the saving from government.

What establishments can take part?

Restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs; work and school canteens; food halls.

What are the restrictions?

No discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

Do I need a voucher?

No. The discount will be automatically applied by the participating outlet. The saving can be used alongside other offers and discounts.

How do I find participating outlets?

Treasury has set up a postcode finder that will list outlets offering a scheme within a two mile radius – here

What about chain restaurants?

Ninety businesses have registered to take part in the scheme, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC; burger chains such as GBK, Five Guys, Honest Burgers; coffee shops such as Costa, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero; pub chains such as Wetherspoon, Fullers, Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers; restaurant chains such as Wagamama, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, Côte Brasserie, Franco Manca.

As the scheme continues throughout August and more Brits enjoy staycations across the UK, time will tell if the government scheme provides the boost that retail destinations across the country require for business survival.’ 

Ms Wehrle is the insights director of retail group Springboard, who carried out the research, and is on the Government High Street Task Force.

It said overall footfall had increased by 3.8% in the UK’s high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

But it insisted comparing the first Monday in August to the last Monday in July was misleading as July 27 was very rainy, pushing down footfall.

Instead it preferred to look at Tuesday and Wednesday, where footfall was down by 0.6% against the previous week at lunchtime, and up 12.2% after 6pm.

Overall footfall rose by 2.6% on Tuesday and Wednesday, lower than the rise of 5.9% on the same days the week before.

The data tallies with a similar measure from Yolt, a money app, which saw a 14% jump in the number of its users paying for meals out.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has put aside around £500 million to pick up half the bill for diners who patronise restaurants during 13 days in August.

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the month, the Eat Out To Help Out scheme means that people can get 50% off their bill, up to a maximum of £10, excluding alcoholic drinks.

The data from Yolt shows that while eating out might have jumped by 14% on last Monday to Wednesday, many were still saving more than usual.

Pauline van Brakel, chief product officer at Yolt, said: ‘It is great to see people taking advantage of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and taking the right steps towards smart spending.

‘It is also encouraging to see that, even with the temptation to spend more now, people are still remaining consistent with their efforts to save and they are seemingly trying to continue that habit going forward, particularly as we face economic uncertainty in light of Covid-19.’ 

Pauline van Brakel, chief product officer at Yolt, said: ‘It is great to see people taking advantage of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and taking the right steps towards smart spending.

‘It is also encouraging to see that, even with the temptation to spend more now, people are still remaining consistent with their efforts to save and they are seemingly trying to continue that habit going forward, particularly as we face economic uncertainty in light of Covid-19.’

Which chains and restaurant groups are registered for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme?

Atalian Servest

Atlas Hotels

Bakers + Baristas

Bannatyne Health Club

Bar + Grills

Bill’s

Black Sheep Coffee

Blue Diamond

Boparan Restaurant Group

Brains

Brewdog

Burger King

Buzz Bingo

CH&CO

Caffè Nero

Center Parcs

Coffee#1

Company of Cooks

The Cornish Bakery

Costa Coffee

Crussh

Côte Brasserie

D&D London

David Lloyd Clubs

Deep Blue Fish & Chips

Dobbies Garden Centres

Euro Garages

Everyman

Five Guys

Franco Manca 

Fullers

G1

GAIL’s Bakeries

Giggling Squid

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Greene King

Grosvenor Casinos

Hall & Woodhouse

Haven

Hollywood Bowl

Honest Burgers

Hydes

JD Wetherspoon

JW Lees

Joe & The Juice

Joseph Holt 

Jurys Inn

KFC

Kew Green Hotels

Leon Restaurants

MacDonald Hotels

Marston’s

McDonald’s 

McMullen

Mecca

Mitchells & Butlers

Morrisons – Cafe and Barista Bar

New World Trading Company

Park Holidays

Patisserie Valerie 

Pho 

Pizza Express 

Pizza Hut

Pret A Manger 

Prezzo

Punch

Revolution Bars Group

Raj Douth

Raj Gate

Roadchef

Selfridges & Co

Shepherd Neame Ltd

Spice Garden

St Austell Brewery

Starbucks

TGI Fridays

Team Sport

Tenpin

The Ivy Collection

The National Trust

Tony Macaroni

Tortilla

Turtle Bay

Vacherin

Village Hotels

Viva Italia

Wagamama

Wasabi

Wildwood

YO Sushi

Youngs

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