Serving up customers with Eat Out to Help Out

Bryn Luffman profile picture

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll, BRYN LUFFMAN from our audit team looks at the detail of one of the most eye-catching government incentives to keep the economy moving.

The easing of lockdown restrictions has enabled the reopening of bars and restaurants around the UK. While some of these businesses have quickly become busy, many have struggled to pick up trade so far. Customers are understandably still uncertain about going out to places due to the ongoing Covid-19 threat, which is now leading to the enforcement of regional lockdowns in areas such as Leicester and Luton.

For those who are less worried about going out for a meal, the government has come up with a scheme to entice them into restaurants and help businesses out. From 3rd August, the Chancellor has announced the introduction of the 'Eat Out to Help Out Scheme', a programme that offers discounts to customers in the hope of encouraging them to treat themselves.

This scheme will be available to customers every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday up until 31st August 2020. Customers will be offered a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per meal. There is no limit to the number of times a customer can use this discount.

The businesses providing the dinners will be able to claim the other 50% of the meal back from the government.

In order to register for the scheme, your business must

  • sell food for immediate consumption on the premises
  • provide its own dining area or share a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
  • be registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

The scheme does not include catering services, mobile food vans/trailers or businesses that only offer takeaways.

To register for the unique programme, you will need to go to with your government gateway password. The deadline for registration is 31 August 2020. It is important that you keep the following records when using the scheme, otherwise you may not be able to make a claim:

  • total number of people who have used the scheme in your establishment
  • total value of transactions under the scheme
  • total amount of discounts you've given

Additionally, VAT will still need to be paid on the full amount of a customer's bill. Once you receive money from the scheme, it will need to be treated as taxable income.

This is another huge intervention from the government to try and keep the economy moving. Here's hoping it will prove to be a good one, which can be delivered safely for everyone.

Page Kirk are helping businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like some business advice and to find out what government support is available for you and your company, please contact us on 0115 955 5500 or email

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