Restaurants, cafes and bars can now sign up to the new government initiative aimed at encouraging people to safely return to eating out.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme offers a 50% reduction, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all diners who eat in a restaurant or other eligible food establishment throughout August. The discount applies all day, every Monday to Wednesday, between 3 and 31 August 2020. Customers do not need a voucher as participating establishments will automatically apply the discount to their bill.
Businesses can then reclaim the discounted amount through an online service, supported by HMRC. Claims can be made on a weekly basis and will be paid into bank accounts within five working days.
The Eat Out to Help Out registration service went live on 13 July on the government website, allowing businesses to join the scheme announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in his summer statement. Businesses that register will receive a window sticker to show they are using the scheme and can download other promotional materials from the government website.
Jim Harra, chief executive and first permanent secretary of HMRC, said: "The hospitality industry is among the sectors worst affected by COVID-19. The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme will deliver support to more than 100,000 businesses, including restaurants, cafes and bars serving food and drink, helping to protect 1.8 million jobs across the UK."
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said: "HMRC's quick and easy registration page will soon have you on your way to welcoming back your customers with discounted dining on every Monday to Wednesday throughout August, with a simple process to reclaim these discounts back from the government each week."
The scheme can be used by diners who order food and/or drinks for consumption on the premises. Alcohol is excluded from the offer. A searchable restaurant finder tool will be available to the public before the scheme launches on 3 August.
Written by Rachel Miller.