The chancellor has thanked Britons for helping protect thousands of jobs across the UK after statistics revealed that more than 100m meals were eaten as part of the Eat Out to Help Out (EOHO) scheme. Rishi Sunak said the scheme’s popularity had helped protect the livelihoods of the 1.8m people working in the hospitality sector and drive the nation’s economic recovery from coronavirus.
The latest figures show that EOHO) significantly boosted restaurant bookings during the month of August, with the scheme growing in popularity each week. By midnight on 31st August over 100m meals were eaten by diners, with the 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme making 130,000 claims worth £522m, meaning more jobs are being protected through people getting out and boosting the economy. These numbers are likely to grow, with outlets having until the end of September to claim back the 50% government-funded discount applied to bills.
Sunak said: “From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before. These figures continue to show that Eat Out to Help Out has been a success.
“I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery. The scheme is just one part of our Plan for Jobs and we will continue to protect, support and create jobs to ensure we come back stronger as a nation.”
According to 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. In July 2020, restaurant bookings were down 54% on average from Mondays to Wednesdays compared to July 2019.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been a great success for hospitality. 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.”