EOHO meal claims smash 100 million mark in final week

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Eat Out to Help Out meal claims smash 100million mark Treasury Rishi Sunak Coronavirus Restaurants

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More than 100 million meals were claimed in total by diners under the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) scheme.

Data collated by OpenTable and released by the Government show that on 31 August (the final day of the scheme), bookings were up 216% compared to the same day in 2019.

The number of meals claimed rose from 65 million to more than 100 million, with 84,700 establishments signed up to the initiative.

The figures further show that EOHO, which offered eat-in customers a 50% discount up to £10 per person on all food and non-alcoholic drinks between Mondays and Wednesdays throughout August, grew steadily in popularity throughout the month. 

According to the OpenTable data, restaurant bookings increased by an average of 53% on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019.

So far a total of 130,000 claims have been made by businesses under the scheme, at a cost of £522m to the Treasury; more than the original £500m set aside by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fund it.

The Treasury adds that these numbers are likely to grow, with restaurants having until the end of September to claim back the 50% Government-funded discount applied to bills. 

While the scheme was undoubtedly a success, it has also encouraged an unwelcome return to discounting, with many restaurant operators choosing to mirror the offer at their own cost throughout September; and in some cases, beyond. 

There have also been calls from some, including UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, for the Government to extend the scheme into the autumn. 

"The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been a great success for hospitality," says Nicholls.

"Our members have reported very strong bookings throughout August at a time when the sector really needed a boost.

"It has helped provide a lift in consumer confidence which is going to be key for hospitality businesses as they look to reopen and help rebuild the economy.

"The scheme has provided a timely boost in trade which will have helped many businesses safeguard jobs all around the UK."

To read BigHospitality's in-depth look at the impact of Eat Out To Help Out, and what the decision by individual businesses to extend the offer might mean for the sector in the medium to long term, click here​.

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