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Coronavirus: Eat Out to Help Out scheme drives 14% surge in eating out

·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak places an Eat Out to Help Out sticker in the window of a business during a visit to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Scotland.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak places an Eat Out to Help Out sticker in the window of a restaurant during a visit to the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Photo: PA

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has driven a surge in people spending money on eating out, according to transactions data from money app Yolt.

During the first three days of the scheme, which launched on 3 August, eating out transactions rose by 14% compared to the same period in the previous week.

Yolt, which has 1.5 million users in the UK, said on Monday that people were “taking advantage” of the government scheme, which will see the Treasury pay up to 50% of a customer’s bill at participating restaurants this month.

Tens of thousands of businesses have signed up to take part in the scheme. Independent eateries and well-known chains such as Pizza Express, Nando’s, and Costa Coffee are among those taking part.

READ MORE: Crisis pushes debt levels at UK firms to highest in 13 years

The discount, which aims to “keep more money in hardworking families’ pockets,” applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount of £10 per person, saving a family of four up to £40 ($52.11).

Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in August is eligible to receive the half-price discount.

The scheme, which is part of the latest raft of stimulus measures announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak, is designed to kickstart the UK economy and boost the hospitality sector, which has been badly shaken by the coronavirus crisis and government restrictions.

Similar Yolt data reveals that spending on eating out climbed by 127% in July compared to levels seen at the height of coronavirus restrictions in April.

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READ MORE: UK economic recovery slows despite increased business output

“It is great to see people taking advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and taking the right steps towards smart spending,” said Pauline van Brakel, the chief product officer at Yolt.

Yolt, which is owned by Dutch lender ING (INGA.AS), said that its users also continued to save in July at levels far higher than prior to the lockdown.

Users contributed to their savings 36% more regularly last month than they did in February, according to its data.

“It is also encouraging to see that even with the temptation to spend more now, people are still remaining consistent with their efforts to save and they are seemingly trying to continue that habit going forward, particularly as we face economic uncertainty in light of COVID-19,” said van Brakel.

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