British steakhouse chain Hawksmoor said it has received a massive boost from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme after revealing it has taken 15,000 bookings for the 13 days that it runs in August.
The group operates six restaurants, meaning the scheme – which runs on Mondays to Wednesdays – is worth an average of 200 covers to each site on the days when it is eligible.
Will Beckett, co-founder of Hawksmoor, said it was good to see its kitchens firing on all cylinders on days that are traditionally quieter for the restaurant sector.
“Although we’ve seen lower sales due to the lower spend per head, we’re still incredibly happy – everyone loves having busy restaurants and lots of new people are coming in and trying Hawksmoor for the first time, or finding a way to come back that they can afford at the moment.
“Anything that encourages people to leave the home and start enjoying restaurants again is great. The industry needs this kind of kick-start at the moment. I think it is a really good example of much-needed government intervention for an industry still in crisis.”
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme was launched by chancellor Rishi Sunak as a way to drive people back into pubs and restaurants following the industry’s enforced three-month closure.
More than 73,000 individual outlets have signed up to the initiative, which offers customers 50% off their food or non-alcoholic drinks up to £10 per person.
Trade association UKHospitality estimates that 93% of eligible sector businesses in the country are involved, with some operators saying the scheme has encouraged them to open earlier or for more days than originally planned.
Some 3.3 million people have used the government online restaurant finder and research by insight agency KAM Media suggests that 35 million consumers are likely to take advantage of the scheme during August.
Operators across the country have reported significant double digit increases in like-for-like sales, compared to last year, with tables in high demand for the rest of the month.
Colin Hill, chief executive of Nando’s UK & Ireland, said the scheme has given a welcome boost to the hospitality industry at a time where we are looking to reignite sales, restore customer confidence and protect jobs.
“We’ve been busy so far this week, welcoming many new and existing customers back into our restaurants, which is encouraging to see. It’s too early to tell the long-term success of the initiative due to the many challenges that we still have to navigate in the weeks and months ahead, but so far it has proven popular with our customers.”
IMAGE CREDIT: Hawksmoor Facebook