Local restaurants are strongly advising local residents to book ahead for Bank Holiday Monday’s final ‘Eat out to Help Out.’  Lytham St. Anne’s traditionally has a wealth of visitors over this final holiday weekend of the year – so demand for tables in our eateries next Monday (31.08.2020) is expected to be very high. Booking is therefore essential to avoid disappointment. So far more than 35 million half price meals have been consumed at 85,000 participating restaurants, leaving the Government with an initial bill estimated at £180 million, according to HMRC.

The ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ initiative has given diners a 50% discount on food and soft drinks up to a maximum of £10 per head from Monday To Wednesday in August, with the Government picking up the tab.  You can find all the participating restaurants in Lytham St Anne’s by using this link:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant/?_ga=2.54299567.668915748.1598199237-1172212514.1578993345

 

Data from OpenTable showed that restaurants have been on average 27% fuller than they were during the same period (Monday to Wednesday) in August 2019. However, the Daily Mail has reported that diners taking advantage of the ‘Eat Out to Help Ou’ scheme may have been eating meat, fish and vegetables that are up to 18 months old as the closure of restaurants and pubs during lockdown means the food industry is sitting on £20 million of excess produce. And Raymond Blanc has said that so many of his diners say they have food intolerances ‘like a fashion item’ that his restaurant is now ‘more like a hospital’. Also, the Daily Telegraph has reported that over 700 restaurants have withdrawn from the scheme as the rush for discounted meals has left them over-run.

 

Some chain restaurants, such as those run by Greene King, are pleading for an extension to the Chancellor’s £350 million meal subsidy to help keep them afloat. If the subsidy does not materialise, some are expected to continue offering a Monday to Wednesday discount regardless of whether they get this state support.   This sector of our economy is extremely important as 8% of the UK’s workforce – over 2.4 million people – rely on hospitality, accommodation and attractions for employment. Food and beverage services (pubs, restaurants, cafes etc) account for 1.8 million jobs. 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April and 1.4 million hospitality workers have since been furloughed – the highest proportion of any sector.