The Eat Out to Help Out initiative has driven a 50% increase in sales since it was rolled out at the start of August, new figures suggest.
The latest figures from hospitality software provider Fourth suggest restaurant companies are benefiting the most from the government-backed initiative, followed by the pub and bar sector, and then QSRs.
The data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub and bar, and QSR sectors, reveals that sales were up 50% between Monday-Wednesday in the opening week of the EOTHO initiative (3-5 August), when compared to the previous week.
Restaurants enjoyed a 70% sales increase across this period, with pubs up 26% and QSR up 22%.
Crucially, data from the first week of the initiative doesn’t indicate a drop-off in trade between Thursday and Sunday, when compared with the week prior, indicating that the initiative is not cannibalising weekend trade.
The insight also reveals there was a slight drop off in sales for the second week of the EOTHO initiative, with sales down collectively 13% between Monday-Wednesday (10-12 August), when compared with the opening week.
QSR experienced a 30% decrease in sales, pubs and bars a 20% fall, and restaurant sales were down 6%.
However, the second week of the EOTHO initiative still resulted in a significant uplift compared to the week before the initiative started, with sales up 30% across the three sectors.
Furthermore, Fourth data suggests that the majority of companies have been reporting EOTHO sales figures inclusive of the discount and in doing so are understating their sales performance.
Once these numbers are added in there will be a further increase in these figures.
The spike in consumer demand has led to an increase in the hours worked by employees in the industry.
The total hours scheduled between Monday-Wednesday of the opening week jumped 17% from the previous week, with pubs accounting for a 13% increase, restaurants 33%, and QSR 15%.
For the second week of the EOTHO initiative, operators readjusted their staffing levels to meet demand and there was a 4% increase in the hours scheduled, when compared to the prior week.
The hours scheduled at pubs remained flat, restaurants increased by 14% and QSR by 5%.
Sebastien Sepierre, managing director EMEA at Fourth, said: “The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative has had a significant impact in driving footfall to hospitality venues between Monday to Wednesday.
“Reinstating consumer confidence in the safety of eating and drinking out of home is paramount to getting the industry back on its feet and on track to achieving pre-Covid operating levels. The good weather has also encouraged consumers to return to hospitality venues, and has allowed businesses to extend capacity with outdoor areas, with the pub sector reaping the rewards.
“With uncertainty around consumer demand in the first week of the initiative, and some employees still furloughed, operators were understandably cautious with managing their staffing levels.
“However, following the positive spike in trading during the first week, there has been an increase in the number of hours scheduled in the industry, which in turn will have a positive impact on the overall customer experience, which is crucial to ensuring the initiative generates a sustained positive impact for the industry.”