You may have heard lots of talk about it but what exactly is the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme?
What is Eat Out To Help Out?
It is a government backed scheme where up-to 50% of your meal will be paid for by the government.
Where is the Scheme Available?
The main criteria is that the venue must offer food to be consumed on the premises. This includes, but isn’t limited to;-
- pubs that serve food
- hotel restaurants
- restaurants & cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites & leisure facilities
- dining rooms within members’ clubs
- workplace & school canteens
Everywhere that I can buy food then?
Not quite. Firstly, a restaurant/pub/cafe has to apply to take part – it is not an automatic discount from EVERY place. Secondly, you must be dining in as it is not applicable to take-away orders. It also can’t be used as a discount from a ‘general’ costs of a private event that includes food.
When is it valid?
From the 3rd of August until the 31st August, between Monday and Wednesday, you can take advantage of this discount. It is not valid Thursday-Sunday.
How Often Can I Use This?
You can use this as many times as you like during the outlined time-frames. It can be applied once to each diner’s meal. 3 people dining together could get 3 x 50% for lunch and then again go out for dinner and get 3 x 50% for dinner also.
How Much is the Actual Discount?
The government has advised that it is 50% discount UPTO a maximum of £10 discount per person. If your meal should have cost £7.50 then you could expect to pay £3.75 (50% off) per person. If your meal should £20 then you would get a £10 discount (50% off). However, if your meal was £30 then you’d still get your £10 discount but it would be 33% off your meal, not 50% off your meal, due to the £10 limit.
Are Drinks Included in the Discount?
Soft Drinks can be included in your meal to be discounted however alcohol can’t.
How Do I Get the Eat Out to Help Out Discount?
This is easy – if your dining somewhere that is taking part in the promotion then you don’t need to do anything! They will automatically take the discount off so you don’t need to download an app or print out a voucher or give the waiter a special code.
Can I sit outside or is that not classed as ‘dining in’?
If the cafe/restaurant has outdoor seating then that counts as ‘dining in’. If it is a mobile food van with a few tables/chairs then that does not.
Can I Voucher Code Stack with Eat Out to Help Out?
The government has advised that the 50% discount should be applied after any other code/promotion. So if you are already having a 2-4-1 pizza at Pizza Express then your discount should come off AFTER the 2-4-1 deal. You may find that restaurants pull their existing promotions while the Eat Out to Help Out promotion is on.
The same goes for Tastecard/The Gourmet Society offers. They are currently advising that you can still get the discount BEFORE the Eat Out to Help Out discount. This may change at some point so do check!
What About the Service Charge/Tip?
It is obviously up to you. The governemnt has advised thatthe 50% discount doesn’t include the Service Charge so I’d recommend having a word with your waiter and ask them about their companies tipping policy. If you agree with it, and want to tip, make sure you tip based on the original cost of the meal – not the discounted rate. Many waiters have been without any income for months now and I’m sure they will appreciate your support.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
At the time of writing this blog, the ‘R’ rate in London is between 0.8 and 1. Based on this I’m not sure going to eat out in a cafe is a sensible idea. Your area might be different and so taking advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out offer might be safer. Think about what is important to you and the risks involved and make your decision on that. Restaurants don’t require masks to be worn (it would be hard to eat while wearing one!) and many restaurants have changed their layout, cleaning regime and even their ordering process to reduce the risk. The final choice is yours but I would recommend you double check everything and make sure you are happy eating there before you make the trip out.