Covid inquiry: What was the impact of Eat Out to Help Out?

Covid inquiry: What was the impact of Eat Out to Help Out?

How much did the scheme help the economy and affect the spread of Covid? 

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In August of 2020, the UK government announced a relief scheme known as ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ to encourage people to patronise restaurants and cafés as the hospitality industry began to enter its busiest months following the Covid-19 lockdown. With the government subsidising part of the cost of meals eaten in premises on certain days, customers had the chance to enjoy the delicious food they had so dearly missed during confinement without breaking the bank. Obviously, the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has been very popular amongst customers, but the impact it has had on the industry went beyond any expectations.

Early estimates suggest the number of customers returning to restaurants and cafés will be up by as much as 70%. The BBC released data in early September that as many as 64 million meals were served with up to £522 million claimed back by businesses, resulting in a much-needed reprieve for the hospitality industry. In addition, the British Chamber of Commerce found that five in six meals sold within their surveyed restaurants and cafés were sold as a result of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. Even though five-star reviews noted overcrowding and noisy environments in many restaurants and cafés, it was also a welcomed reminder that we, as individuals, were a major driving force within the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Overall, the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme is proving to be effective at getting people out and enjoying meals together while providing much needed relief to the struggling restaurant industry. Clearly, this government initiative has been successful in bringing back former customers and introducing more people to the wonderful food and hospitality these establishments have to offer. It is also good to know that although the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme fares no better than other schemes, its impact on the industry has been unparalleled. In the end, this will possibly be remembered as a memorable moment in the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic, and, as a result of the success of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, the future of the hospitality industry looks bright.

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