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Restaurant Industry Bodies Join Calls for ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Extension

While the scheme has seen huge demand, another month could have the feeling of delaying the inevitable

Diners sit outside a London restaurant in the eat out to help out scheme
A few restaurant groups and industry leaders want the scheme to be extended
Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Eating out at the government’s expense could continue through September

Restaurant body U.K. Hospitality has joined what is currently a handful of small-medium-sized chains in calling for the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ restaurant discount to be extended through September. Spanish specialists Brindisa and renewed steak slinger Gaucho have already pledged to extend the scheme whether the government does or not, meaning that the 50 percent discount up to £10 per head deal will continue without the groups claiming the deficit back from the government.

U.K. Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls couched the call in potential for currently unopened restaurants: “The benefit to consumers, the importance to businesses shows the need to continue it for another month to get the remaining 50 percent of restaurants and pubs reopen and successfully trading.”

While the scheme’s numbers are big — 35 million meals in two weeks — and restaurateurs are seeing bookings climb Monday through Wednesday, even another month of it is still not a solution to the industry’s two biggest problems: rent, and the furlough scheme that supports staff wages running out at the end October. Sunny August weather has bolstered outdoor dining, but September weather is more fickle. Eating out will help out, but the simple fact is that it won’t save restaurants.

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