How will the Eat Out to Help Out scheme work and who is taking part?

Nando's, KFC, Starbucks and Wagamama are all taking part in the 'Eat Out to Help Out' government initiative.
Nando's, KFC, Starbucks and Wagamama are all taking part in the 'Eat Out to Help Out' government initiative. Credit: PA

The government's flagship Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme to boost the struggling hospitality industry launches on Monday, but how does it work and how much could you save?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the plan during his 'mini budget' on July 8 alongside a raft of measures to help fight the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan gives people 50% off food, with a maximum discount of £10 per person, when eating in a participating restaurant, cafe or pub.

Here's everything you need to know about how to take part:

How long will the scheme last?

The discount plan is only available for the month of August, starting on the 3rd and ending on the 31st.

On top of this, it's only valid on Monday, Tuesday and, Wednesday, with normal prices for the rest of the week.

A waiter serving breakfast at The Old Stables restaurant in Liverpool Credit: PA

Do I need a voucher to get the discount?

You don't need a voucher, app, or email to be eligible to get the discount on your meal, the money will be deducted straight from your bill - no sign up required.

All you need to do is make sure you're having a sit-down meal in a participating venue.

Are there any rules around qualifying for the scheme?

There is no limit to how many times you can get the discount.

There is also no minimum spend and you don't have to order food to be eligible, so if you bought a £1 cup of tea at a participating business you would only pay 50p.

The offer can also be used alongside other promotions and discount the venue has available.

For example, if a pub offers a discount for buying a burger and soft drink together, the government's 50% off deal will be taken from the already reduced price that comes with the venue's promotion.

The scheme will also work with valid vouchers, so if you have a 25% off coupon for Pizza Express, you can use that and still get the 50% discount from the government.

Who is taking part?

The government claims over 53,000 businesses have signed up for the promotion.

The scheme also covers food halls, canteens, and members' clubs, so for example the food venue at a local golf club could be offering discounts.

This means businesses that you may not have associated with food have also signed up, for example, The National Trust and Hollywood Bowl are taking part in the scheme.

Thousands of independent restaurants, cafes, and pubs have signed up, the government has created a postcode finder to show who is taking part near you, which can be found here.

The government has also distributed adverts to participating businesses so keep an eye out for them in the window.

Most recognisable big chains are taking part, including:

  • Wetherspoons

  • Greene King

  • Burger King

  • McDonald's

  • Wagamama

  • Starbucks

  • Costa Coffee

  • KFC

  • Subway

  • Frankie and Benny's

  • Nando's

What is not included?

The scheme doesn't cover alcoholic drinks or service charges.

It also doesn't apply to takeaways, bed and breakfast, mobile food vans, or catering services.

Businesses must own a seating area to take part, so anywhere that offers food but relies on a public space to seat their customers won't be included in the scheme.

What if I'm in a local lockdown?

With threat of a second wave of coronavirus still present in the country, the possibility of more local lockdowns like the one we have seen in Leicester can not be ruled out.

When Leicester went back into lockdown its pubs, restaurants, and cafes remained closed.

If the area you are in is put into a local lockdown then it is likely participating venues will be closed.

If you find yourself in this situation you should follow the guidelines of your local authority.

Why is the scheme being introduced?

The hospitality sector was among the hardest hit industries when the pandemic was at its height and the nation starting going into lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak alongside the Prime Minister in the Commons. Credit: Parliament

Even though the government's furlough scheme helped cover a large amount of the overheads, businesses still had rent and bills to pay.

Restaurants, pubs, and cafes have now been allowed to reopen, but with many new rules in place and with the threat of the virus still present, businesses may not bring in the profits they did before.

The Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme was announced alongside a raft of measures aimed at helping the hospitality sector recover from the crisis.

Other measures included slashing VAT on food from 20% to 5% and cash bonuses for retaining furloughed staff.