Andrew Howell, global marketing director for point of sale software firm, K3 Business Technologies, details concerns that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme raises and calls to question how well thought through it has been in terms of creating long term benefits for the hospitality industry:
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme, while created with the best of intentions, was never going to be the answer in helping the 1.8m people in the hospitality industry.
News that already 700 businesses have pulled out of the scheme due to the stress it has put staff in shows the lack of thinking that was involved.
For instance, next week represents a tough period for our nation’s cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants. After months of lost revenue, they face the opportunity of the Bank Holiday Monday and the continuing ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme and then the unknown of what happens come 1 September. Will they experience the fully booked Tuesdays of August or without the incentive, will people stay at home? Will the scheme be extended?
The government has undoubtedly got bums on seats in many of our favourite local eateries, but the analogy that if you give someone a fish you feed them for a day, teach someone to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime feels appropriate. It has temporarily boosted income for restaurants, but it didn’t look at the bigger issue of what happens in a few months’ time when the nights turn dark and people no longer rush to sit outside.
Eat Out to Help Out has got many of us enjoying a meal out again, but it hasn’t set the hospitality industry up for the winter and the next challenge of Covid-19. I can’t help but think that the money could have been used to make long term changes that could revolutionise the way those in hospitality use their space to help face the unknown winter months ahead.