Restaurants and pubs report 13% fall in sales during second week of Eat Out to Help Out scheme compared to the previous seven days, figures show
- Sales in UK fell by 13% between August 10 and 12 compared with week before
- £500m scheme offers 50% off bill for eat-in food and drink up to £10 per person
- Fast food outlets saw sales slide by 30%, while pubs and bars were down 20%
- Taxpayer-funded £500million scheme operates on Mondays to Wednesdays
Restaurants and pubs have reported a slight drop-off in sales during the second week of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, it was revealed today.
Sales in the UK collectively fell by 13 per cent between August 10 and 12 compared with the same Monday to Wednesday period a week earlier, according to research.
The scheme offers 50 per cent off the bill for eat-in food and drink – up to £10 per person and excluding alcohol – on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
Click here to view an interactive map revealing the 72,000 restaurants involved
Diners on Frith Street in London’s Soho on August 11 enjoy the Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Hospitality software business Fourth revealed that ‘quick-service restaurants’, or fast food outlets, saw sales slide by 30 per cent in the second week.
Other restaurant sales fell by 6 per cent, while sales at pubs and bars were down 20 per cent against the previous week of the taxpayer-funded £500million scheme.
But sales were still significantly higher than trading before the initiative had started, with sales across all three areas up 30 per cent against the period two weeks earlier.
Fourth also said most firms using the scheme have reported sales figures inclusive of the Eat Out to Help Out discount and are therefore understating their total revenues.
The data, which analysed more than 700 companies across the sector, revealed that sales were up by 50 per cent between Monday August 3 and Wednesday August 5, against the previous week, highlighting a strong start to the initiative.
It said this showed a 70 per cent sales increase for restaurants, while pubs and quick-service restaurants rose by 26 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
Fourth added that initial data ‘doesn’t indicate a drop-off in trade between Thursday and Sunday’ compared with the previous week, amid concerns the offer would impact other trading days.
For the second week of the initiative, operators also boosted their staffing levels to meet increased demand, reporting a 4 per cent increase in hours worked by staff against the previous week.
Sebastien Sepierre, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Fourth, said: ‘With uncertainty around consumer demand in the first week of the initiative, and some employees still furloughed, operators were understandably cautious with managing their staffing levels.
‘However, following the positive spike in trading during the first week, there has been an increase in the number of hours scheduled in the industry, which in turn will have a positive impact on the overall customer experience, which is crucial to ensuring the initiative generates a sustained positive impact for the industry.’
Separate data from reservation service OpenTable said restaurants have been more than a quarter busier than they were before lockdown on the back of the scheme.
It said that between Mondays and Wednesdays over the past two weeks restaurants have been on average 27 per cent fuller than they were on the same days of last year.
The promotion has led to a dip in customers from Thursdays to Sundays – but figures show trading throughout the week was almost boosted back to normal levels.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research hailed the deal for bringing a ‘much-needed boost towards normality’, coaxing Britons back into socialising.
The CEBR estimates that in Central London spending in restaurants, pubs and shops was down by £575million each month between March and June.
But this is set to recover slightly, falling by £178million in August – in part because of the scheme, which was launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.