Eat Out to Help Out – the scheme saving hospitality

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Marketing Lead

With over 85,000 restaurants taking part, 35 million meals claimed in the first two weeks and restaurants 27% fuller than they were during the same period (Monday to Wednesday) in August 2019; none of us can deny the positive impact the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has had on the hospitality industry. 

It has been instrumental in getting hospitality businesses back on their feet, encouraging people to go out to eat again and giving the economy a much needed boost. Those taking part haven’t necessarily seen an increase in revenue. But it has meant they’ve had more ‘bums on seats’ from Monday – Wednesday.

Traditionally weekend bookings far surpass those at the beginning of the week. But Monday – Wednesday has been giving the weekend a run for its money since the scheme was introduced. To give you an idea of what we’ve been seeing behind the scenes, here’s a snapshot of The Regency Club’s bookings and forecasted sales for the week commencing 17th August. You can clearly see there are more bookings from Monday to Wednesday than at the weekend; a direct result of Eat Out to Help Out.

Graph showing reservations, staffing levels and forecasted sales within Rotaready

We spoke to Rahul Sharma, Director at The Regency Club in London, about how the scheme has impacted his business:

“Takeaways were 40% of our business during lockdown but now only account for 5% of sales from Monday to Wednesday. We’re getting more bums on seats but this hasn’t necessarily meant an increase in revenue. What it has done is allow us to bring more staff back from furlough which is fantastic!” 

Rahul Sharma, Director – The Regency Club

Now the question on everyone’s lips is ‘what happens next?’ With the scheme drawing to an end, the hospitality industry is left wondering if people will continue to eat out once it’s all over. Research by HGEM suggests it’s the younger demographic that need a little more convincing. Results from a recent survey found that 73% of people aged 56-65 and 81% of those in the 66-plus age group, are intending to eat out “as much as now, or more” from September onwards. Whilst Gen-Z have been swayed by the discounted meals, with half of the respondents intending to eat out less once the scheme ends.

It’s undeniable the benefit the scheme has brought to the industry; whether it’s an increase in revenue, having the ability to bring employees back to work, or both. But scheduling staff to meet demand in such an unpredictable climate is a challenge in itself. Not only are businesses having to account for the impact of Eat Out to Help Out and what comes next, the weather now affects footfall far more than ever before. With social distancing a must, al fresco dining is becoming the norm. An excellent way of increasing the number of covers, but only if the weather allows.

We’ve seen many of our clients making the most of our Demand Forecasting feature to help them get their scheduling spot on without any of the complicated analysis that comes with it. If you’d like more information on how you can use Rotaready to automatically build staff schedules that are informed by past trends, upcoming events, seasonality and little things like the weather, then email us at team@rotaready.com or drop us a message via live chat. 

We hope this is the start of a great new chapter for the hospitality industry!


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