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Eat Out to Help Out discounts applied to 64 million meals

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Written by: Emma Lunn
25/08/2020
The government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been used to pay for more than 64 million meals in the past three weeks, according to HMRC figures.

The scheme offers people who dine in at pubs, cafes and restaurants 50% off their food, up to £10 per person. The discount is on offer on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.

The latest figures show an upward trend in the scheme’s popularity, with 10.5 million meals claimed for in the first week, and 35 million meals in the second.

Businesses automatically apply the discount to diners’ bills – no voucher is required – and claim the money back from the government.

Data from the government shows that more than 84,000 restaurants have now registered for the scheme.

A total of 87,000 claims have been made by many of the signed-up businesses and there have been over 34 million searches on Eat Out to Help Out’s restaurant finder from 13 million unique users.

Data from OpenTable shows that during Eat Out to Help Out’s third week the number of customers at UK restaurants was 61% higher than the same days last year on average for Monday to Wednesday.

The average level across Monday to Wednesday in the first and second week were 12% and 41% respectively.

The data also shows that the number of customers at UK restaurants was up 17% compared to the same week in 2019.

Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, said: “Today’s figures continue to show that Brits are backing hospitality – with more than 64 million meals discounted so far, that’s equivalent to nearly every person in the country dining out to protect jobs.

“This scheme has reminded us how much we love to dine out, and in doing so, how this is helping to protect the jobs of nearly 2 million people who work in hospitality. I am urging everyone, where they can, to continue to safely enjoy a meal while the scheme remains open.”

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme aims to help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry’s 1.8 million employees by encouraging people to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends on 31 August.

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