More than 53,000 outlets across the UK have so far signed up to the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which launches next week and is designed to boost the food and drink sector, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus downturn
HMRC said Eat Out to Help Out stickers and posters are now starting to appear in the windows of restaurants, cafes, bars and other establishments across the country.
The logo means diners that eat-in will benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
No voucher is required, and diners can take advantage of the offer as many times as they like during the month.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: ‘Our restaurants, cafes and bars play a vital role in our economy, employing more than a million people. They have been hit hard by coronavirus, so it’s vital we do everything we can to help them recover.
‘Our Eat Out to Help Out scheme is designed to get more customers through the door – protecting jobs by giving businesses the confidence to retain and hire staff.’
Establishments are eligible to register for the scheme provided they sell food for immediate consumption on the premises, have their own dining area or share a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals, and were registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.
Participating outlets must wait seven days from registration to make their first claim with all eligible claims being paid within five working days. Claims can be submitted weekly and businesses are encouraged to register before the 3 August to benefit for the entire month in which the scheme runs.
HMRC guidance states that when a business registers for the scheme, it is expected that it will offer it during the whole of its opening hours on all the eligible days that it is open and on all qualifying sales of food or drink.
If a customer purchases a meal with the intention of eating it but then takes it away and leaves the premises, the business can still apply the discount.
For each day a café or restaurant is using the scheme, they must keep records of the total number of people who have used the scheme, the total value of transactions under the scheme, and the total amount of discounts given.
HMRC guidance provides a number of examples of how the discount should be calculated, taking into account options including ‘buy one, get one free’ deals, and offers which include a free drink.
To find out if a restaurant is participating in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme diners can use the online restaurant finder now live on gov.uk. By entering a postcode they will see a list of participating outlets within a five-mile radius.