Eat Out to Help Out - what comes next?
With a whopping 64 million+ meals discounted thanks to Eat Out to Help Out, there's no denying the scheme has had a major impact on bars, restaurants, pubs and cafe across the UK.
For anyone that needs a quick recap - Eat Out to Help Out was a government scheme run Monday to Wednesdays in August, where participating venues could deduct 50% from customer bills for food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a maximum discount per person of £10.
Was it a success? Well... data from OpenTable saw a 17% rise in the number of people visiting restaurants from the same week in 2019.
And, as Rishi Sunak said:
"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."
With the Chairman of Fulham Shore (Franco Manca/The Real Greek) adding:
Eat Out to Help Out immediately increased our restaurant customer numbers by over 50%, thus enabling us to get all our staff back to work. In fact, we are now creating new jobs by hiring and training more people as fast as we can!
BUT WHAT NEXT?
As the scheme comes to a close how will the hospitality industry encourage customers to continue visiting? While for many venues, the scheme has helped to reopen their doors they now need to find ways to stay afloat and recover from the months of empty seats.
Here are some of the options venues are choosing post Eat Out to Help Out:
Taking a break.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was great for customers but gruelling for many workers. Many venues are opting for a quiet few weeks of no deals to give their staff a much needed rest.
Extending the scheme.
While the financial support for the scheme has ended, some restaurants like Pizza Hut, Bill's and Pizza Pilgrims are saying they'll continue offering the discount (self-funding) into September.
Making Wednesdays the new Friday.
Venues can no longer survive on a Friday/Saturday rush to stay afloat and the scheme made Wednesday the new Friday for eating out. So... venues are offering extra deals on just a Wednesday to keep drawing in those customers.
Turning to technology.
With social distancing and NHS Test and Trace the norm in hospitality dozens of venues have launched apps in a bid to support the new measures and offer pay & order at table. Young's Pubs, KFC and Revolution Bars have taken full advantage of app commerce to drive sales, draw customers and offer a safer payment method. The best bit? These apps ensure their latest deals and updates get straight into their customer's hands. Whether you have an app or are thinking of launching one - see this as a loyalty and footfall-driving tool to keep those customers flocking to your doors.
During the Eat out to Help Out scheme we spoke to a few customers to see how they felt about using order and pay apps in their local pubs and restaurants: