Some UK restaurants say they will continue the Eat Out to Help Out scheme into September with their own cash because it has been so successful.
Latest HM Treasury data shows diners used the government scheme more than 64 million times in its first three weeks.
Commercial landlord Grosvenor has said it will subsidise discounted meals for tenants in Belgravia and Mayfair.
Other restaurants are individually deciding to extend the offer for customers.
New research from accountancy giant EY shows comfort levels around eating out have increased since the government scheme was announced – 27% of UK consumers currently feel comfortable eating in a restaurant, and only 23% going to a bar or pub.
And data from Cardlytics shows casual dining spending rose 9% and visits climbed 14% last week, although spending and visits were still down 53% like-for-like compared with the same week in 2019.
The scheme, which is now in its final week, offers customers in restaurants, pubs and cafes 50% off their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per head.
It runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August to encourage support for the hospitality sector.
Grosvenor, one of London’s biggest commercial landlords, told the BBC that its restaurant and eatery tenants had been “very happy” with the scheme in August.
Grosvenor said it had decided to fund the scheme for its tenants in the month of September for an undisclosed amount, following the same terms as the original scheme, in order to help its tenants reduce their rents.
“Eat Out to Help Out has been a powerful tool in protecting jobs and local economies UK-wide and we are working hard to help the West End and our tenants recover,” said Amelia Bright, executive director of Grosvenor’s London estate.
“Continuing EOTHO will not only support cafes, restaurants and bars that we lease space to but also help welcome back more visitors and workers to Mayfair and Belgravia.”
Grosvenor waived rents entirely for hundreds of food and beverage, charity and retail tenants in Belgravia and Mayfair for April, May and June to help lessen the financial burden facing these firms.
Industry body UK Hospitality said the fact that businesses were now looking to extend the scheme without government support “shows what a huge success it has been for the sector”.
“The scheme has not just benefited businesses commercially, it appears to have really boosted consumer confidence as well, which is just as important. Both of those are very strong arguments for a formal extension of the scheme,” said UK Hospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“The hospitality sector is still fragile and faces other challenges, but prolonging the Eat Out scheme could help businesses back to stability and enable them to safeguard jobs and livelihoods.”
UK Hospitality said that a third of restaurants and bars had still not reopened.
Of the eateries that had opened, sales were increasing but still remained 20% lower than pre-pandemic levels, meaning restaurants were only able to just about break even.
Here is a list of the restaurant chains which have confirmed to the BBC they will offer discounts of either 50% or £10 off per customer on meals in September:
- Burger and Lobster
- The Mayfair Chippy
- NAC (north Audley kitchen)
- Horse & Groom pub
- l’ETO London
- Jones Family Kitchen
- Peggy Porschen
- La Poule Pot
- The Duke of Wellington (pub)
- Pizza Pilgrims
- UNI Restaurant
- Flesh & Buns
- José Pizzaro
- Sticky Mango
- Pasta Remoli
- Aqua Kyoto
- Aqua Shard
- Hutong at the Shard
- The Gilbert Scott (St Pancras Renaissance Hotel)
- Saffron Circle
- House of Darwin
- Hurt Arms
- White Hart
- Horse & Jockey
Tyne and Wear