Restaurants look to maintain Eat Out to Help Out momentum

Hawksmoor has warned that restaurants will need to “stand on their own two feet” after the government’s successful Eat Out to Help Out scheme came to an end.

New payment data showed that the scheme, which saw the government subsidise the cost of eating out by 50% from Monday to Wednesday up to a value of £10 per person, helped fuel a significant spike in spending in restaurants in August.

Barclaycard Payments, which processes 40% of all card transactions in the UK, said Eat Out to Help Out led to a 33.7% increase in the number of transactions in the month with four in ten people taking advantage of the offer.

The scheme also encouraged diners to order more food and soft drinks with data showing the average transaction value remained stable at just under £12 in July and August, despite the government picking up half of the tab in the latter month.

Many businesses, including JD Wetherspoon and YO!, have chosen to launch their own versions of the scheme in an effort to maintain the recent momentum.

Others, however, have warned that restaurants need to get back to business as usual. In a blog post, Hawksmoor wrote: “We won’t be extending the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. A time is coming soon where restaurants have to stand on their own two feet – without government help and with the conviction that their normal prices are the right ones. For Hawksmoor we want that time to be now.”

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said consumer feedback had been “very encouraging” with almost one in five planning to continue dining out more often to support the industry, and a similar number saying that they will return to restaurants that they would not have otherwise visited.

“Restaurants across the UK will be looking to maintain this boost in trade, especially with the Christmas period now in sight,” Cameron added.

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