There is no such thing as a free lunch, or so the saying goes. But from Monday, families will be able to eat at many of their favourite restaurants at a considerably reduced cost as Chancellor Rishi Sunak — dubbed Dishy Rishi — dishes up a helping for the beleaguered hospitality industry.
His scheme, Eat Out To Help Out, is designed to give restaurants, pubs and cafes a much-needed shot in the arm after months of enforced lockdown by letting families dine out with up to £10 off per person.
Whether you’re missing your favourite pizza, can’t wait for a steak or want a cream tea to break up a sunny day at the beach, here is the essential guide to everything you need to know...
As a diner, it’s very simple: just turn up at a participating establishment, on the correct day, and order. The Treasury has set up a postcode finder that will list outlets offering a scheme within a two-mile radius
The scheme was unveiled by the Chancellor as part of his Covid-19 mini budget in July — designed to rescue the economy from a coronavirus-induced recession.
As its name suggests, this £500 million taxpayer-funded scheme aims to get families who have been hankering after restaurant meals during lockdown back at the table.
Diners can get a 50 per cent discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum discount of £10 per person.
The result? An army of mums and dads who are thoroughly fed up of spending time in the kitchen get to relax and let someone else do the cooking and struggling restaurant bosses get increased footfall and the opportunity to prove that eating out post-lockdown doesn’t have to be a terrifying concept.
The scheme will run every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until August 31, giving you 13 opportunities for a cut price meal out.
Mr Sunak told the Mail: ‘Our Eat Out To Help Out scheme is designed to help breathe life back into our badly hit hospitality sector — helping to protect the jobs of the 1.8 million hard-working people employed by our much-loved local restaurants, cafes and pubs.
‘We want people to support the Covid-secure establishments that have reopened their doors up and down the country, and enjoy the summer in a safe environment.’
As a diner, it’s very simple: just turn up at a participating establishment, on the correct day, and order. The Treasury has set up a postcode finder that will list outlets offering a scheme within a two-mile radius.
It’s probably best to book given that eateries are juggling new limitations on space, but otherwise once you are at your table you are good to go.
There is no need for a voucher, because the discount is automatically available at participating establishments, which then claim a reimbursement from the Government for the discount given.
The Government will cover half of the cost of the meal out, up to £10 a head, including children, meaning that a meal for one costing £20 would be reduced to £10, but a £25 meal would be reduced to £15, because of the £10 limit.
The offer includes children’s meals, so it will save a family of four up to £40 when dining out.
You can dip into the scheme as many times as you like, meaning you could in theory have half-price meals Monday to Wednesday all month. But remember: alcohol and service are not included.Why has it been introduced?
Among the many industries to have been hit by the Coronavirus lockdown, hospitality has taken a massive hit.
Restaurants were told to close on March 20, with some tentatively reopening for the first time on July 4. But hospitality post-corona is very different, with social distancing limiting space, requirements to gather data from diners, not to mention all the cleaning. Combined with staffing and cash flow problems, it’s no wonder some still haven’t reopened.
According to trade industry body UK Hospitality, sales at pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK plunged by £30 billion during lockdown, with revenues down by 87 per cent between April and June compared to last year.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said the dramatic fall proved Government assistance for the industry’s 65,000 businesses was vital to avoid more failures and job losses.
Sadly, a host of familiar High Street names as well as much-loved local eateries have had to close permanently, triggering redundancies. Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s escaped administration after it was bought