Will the UK Eat Out to Help Out?

A 2019 CGA report stated that the average UK adult went out to eat 63 times a year (roughly once every six days) and went out for a drink 85 times a year (every four days) making this behaviour one of the most impacted by the lockdown. From the 4th of July, the government allowed bars, restaurants, and hotels to reopen in England and we wanted to understand if people were planning Eat Out to Help Out.

How the UK is trying to get people spending

From the 3rd of August, the govern­ment introduced a 50% discount on food and drink with their Eat Out to Help Out scheme which at least 72,000 businesses have signed up for (BBC). The scheme is a bid to encourage people to spend money in restaurants and alleviate the pressure on the two million people who work in this industry.

After the positive return to bars and pubs on the 4th of July, there are doubts over the necessity of the scheme, however in a recent survey, the BBC reported that many Britons felt uncomfortable about eating in a restaurant. Furthermore, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found just over two in 10 adults were happy to have a sit-down meal so it will be interesting to see how successful the scheme is.

Only half of UK adults have visited a reopened business since lockdown

In our Mood of the Nation report for August, where we carried out market research on a nationally representative sample of over 1000s UK adults, we found that 1 in 2 UK adults have visited a business that has reopened since lockdown restrictions ended. 58% of those that visited a business have visited a hospitality business.

Restaurants in the UK are looking very different than before lockdown

Eat Out to Help Out

In our report, we saw that 1 in 3 UK adults plan to participate in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, with a further 1 in 3 adults still unsure about whether they will participate. It is difficult to say how successful the Government hoped the scheme would be, but 2 in 3 people in the UK taking part would surely be deemed a success.

How can you help? Firstly, advertise the fact that your business is taking part in the scheme, and try to use the official logo. Customers are learning to recognise the logo as the Government and other hospitality venues use it – so the processing fluency of your announcements will improve if you include it in your messaging.

Takeaway service has been the only way of generating revenue for restaurants, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is designed to drive more people to restaurants now they have reopened

Only 1 in 10 UK adults have been persuaded to Eat Out to Help Out by the scheme

However, when we looked deeper at the behaviour, we found that only 1 in 10 UK adults said they had been persuaded to eat out by the scheme. This suggests that Government spending on Eat Out to Help Out may not be as effective as first hoped – with £50 million spent on the scheme in the first week (with 10.5 million meals claimed).

How can you help? Give your customers the reassurance that your business is COVID secure. Many customers taking part in the scheme already feel safe enough to visit, but it appears that discounts are not going to encourage those who still feel unsafe to return.

If you would like to see our full August Mood of the Nation report, please click here and enter your details and one of the team will be in touch. Or reach out to Scott directly using the details below.

Written by Scott Willey, Associate Director at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Scott via email scott.willey@sparkemotions.com or connect with him on LinkedIn

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