What Is the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme and How Does it Work?

Eat Out to Help Out is a new scheme which attempts to drive support to the hospitality sector by offering diners 50% off their meals, capped of £10 per person. This new programme was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak during his recent summer statement. The scheme is part of a series of measures announced by the Chancellor to get the UK economy back moving towards where it needs to be. With the hospitality sector one of those worst affected by the coronavirus crisis and with cafes and restaurants being particularly affected by COVID-19 within the sector over the past few months, the Chancellor’s announcement has already been welcomed by businesses and companies throughout the sector.

Sunak stated: “To get customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs, and protect the 1.8 million people who work in them, I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an Eat Out to Help Out discount.”

During the same statement, Chancellor Sunak has also announced cuts to VAT for both the hospitality and tourism sector, going down from 20% to 5% for a period of six months. This move is said to also help protect and support the hospitality industry as well as tourism, both of which have seen severe impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Is Included in the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme?

Through the Eat Out to Help Out programme, diners can get 50% off their food, as well as non-alcoholic drinks, capped at a maximum £10 per head. The scheme will apply to adults as well as children  With the hospitality industry being the third largest employer in the U.K., this scheme attempts to help drive activity back into these businesses.

This scheme, as Sunak states, “has never been tried in the U.K. before, this moment is unique, we need to be creative…Businesses will need to register and can do so through a simple website open next Monday…Each week in August businesses can then claim the money back with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

The scheme is set to run between the 3rd to the 31st of August, with discounts available throughout the entire day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is also no limit as to the amount of times a customer can use the scheme during this period, however, both alcoholic drinks and service charges are not included in the discount.

What Types of Businesses Can Register for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme?

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme is an attempt to support and promote the hospitality industry, a sector which has struggled considerably during the past few months as a result of COVID-19, and the subsequent lockdown measures it caused. With the sector having to furlough almost all of its workers, getting it back on its feet is of course a priority.

The government has established the following businesses to be eligible for the scheme:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Public houses that serve food
  • Hotel restaurants
  • Restaurants and cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites and leisure facilities
  • Dining rooms within members’ clubs
  • Workplace and school canteens

Additionally, the government has laid out the following criteria for businesses wanting to register for the scheme:

  • Your business must sell food that is consumed on the premises
  • Your business must offer a dining area for customers
  • Your business must be registered as a food business
  • You must have registered as a food business on or before the 7th July 

Those who have used other government schemes to help support them through the COVID-19 health crisis can still register for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. Those who cannot register include:

  • Businesses who solely offer their food and drinks as takeaway
  • Private function catering services
  • Food vans and trailers
  • Hotels offering room service exclusively

You can find out more about the eligibility criteria for the scheme via the government website. If eligible, businesses will be able to register for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme from the 13th July 2020 and onward. Registration for the scheme will close by the 31st August.

How Do I Register My Business for the Help Out to Eat Out Scheme?

From the 13th July 2020, you can register your business for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. After registration, you will receive your registration reference number, needed to make reimbursement claims When registering your business for this scheme, you will need your Government Gateway ID and password. For those who do not already have one, you can simply create one whilst registering for the scheme.

You may also need to provide the following to complete the registration:

  • The account number and sort code for the business’s U.K. bank account
  • The address associated with this bank account
  • Corporation Tax/Self Assessment unique taxpayer reference
  • Your reference number for the employer PAYE scheme (only if applicable)
  • VAT registration number (only if applicable)

You will also have to provide both the name and the address to each of the establishments you will be registering for the scheme. This, however, will not be the case if you are registering over 25 of said establishments (provided that they all are part of one business). In this case, you will have to link to a website that lists the details (including the address and trading name) of each establishment that you want to register for the scheme.

You can start offering discounts from the 3rd of August, provided you are officially registered.