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‘Eat Out to Help Out’ sees 34% rise in restaurant and fast food spend

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Brits spent 34.2% more dining out between Monday and Wednesday in August, compared to the previous month, Barclaycard transaction data reveals.

Barclaycard Payments, which processes 40% of all transactions in the UK, revealed that the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme led to a 33.7% increase in the number of transactions in the month.

Its data showed that four in ten Brits made use of the scheme, and Wednesday was the most popular day to take advantage of the 50% off dine in offer. It reported that spending grew nearly 40% month-on-month.

However, the average transaction value in restaurants and fast food outlets ‘remained fairly stable’, rising from £11.85 in July to £11.91 in August.

Barclaycard said this suggested that the discount encouraged diners to order more food and non-alcoholic drinks in order to spend roughly the same amount overall.

For one in five people, the incentive has encouraged them to eat out more often to support the industry while 18% said they would return to restaurants they would otherwise not have visited without the government scheme.

Meanwhile, away from ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ spending, Thursday to Sundays in August also saw strong growth compared to July, with total spending in restaurants and fast food outlets up 33%.

But Barclaycard said consumer cautiousness is still having a significant impact on transactions.

Year-on-year, the total value of transactions across restaurants and fast food outlets in August was down 7% compared to August 2019, and the total number of transactions was down 11.6% for the same period.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s clear that ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ had a positive impact on restaurant and fast food spend in August resulting in many businesses choosing to extend the discounts into September, even without the government incentive.

“Consumer feedback has also been very encouraging, with almost one in five planning to continue dining out more often to support the industry, and a similar number saying that they will return to restaurants that they would not have visited otherwise. Restaurants across the UK will be looking to maintain this boost in trade, especially with the Christmas period now in sight.”

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