Rishi Sunak has announced that over 35 million meals were bought using his ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative in the first two weeks of August. Consumers across the UK have been keen in taking advantage of the initiative and as such hospitality businesses benefited.
The Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs overseeing the roll out of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ have released numbers showing that week two more than doubled in numbers from 10 million in week one.
The numbers show significant support from UK consumers prompting an enthusiastic Sunak to say: “Today’s figures show that Britain is eating out to help out – with at least 35m meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.”
The initiative is a welcome respite for most hospitality businesses, and some are now extending the initiative.
Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala have announced that their flagship Indian restaurant, Café Spice Namaste, will be extending the concept of HM Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme throughout its entire operating week, up to the end of August.
Café Spice Namaste already takes part in the month-long scheme on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which gives a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a maximum of £10 per person.
By adopting the Eat Out to Help Out concept from Tuesday to Saturday during for the last two weeks in August, Pervin and Cyrus hope to please loyal customers as well as attract new ones. They also hope the initiative will help sustain the early-week boost to business that they attribute to the scheme.
Café Spice Namaste re-opened on 14th July for dinner only, with a pared down menu featuring customers’ most popular picks during the past 25 years.
The menu includes an authentic lamb dhaansaak, the meat and lentil stew beloved of Cyrus and Pervin’s Parsee community, as well as summer-perfect tandoori specialities — chicken tikka, duck tikka, paneer tikka, and ‘must-have’ tandoori lamb chops.
Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL said: “I believe that as long as people act responsibly, Eat Out to Help Out is a life raft, however temporary, for our industry.
“Personally, we’ve seen how happy our customers have been to return to Café Spice Namaste and to enjoy our food. We’ve also welcomed many new faces.
“Apart from the financial support, this has given our team a much-needed psychological boost after months in the wilderness. So, extending a concept that has worked for us makes sense and I’m sure it will to our customers as well. We believe it will be worth it.’
Café Spice Namaste is celebrating its 25th year this year. It has held a Michelin BIB Gourmand (‘good food, good value’) ever since the launch of the awards in 1998.
About 80% of all hospitality businesses closed in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any UK business sector.
Sunak, encouraging more hospitality businesses to take part in ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative said: “To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, that is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today – it’s free, simple and pays out within five working days.”