Which restaurants are taking part in Eat Out to Help Out? What you need to know

2 August 2020, 10:05 | Updated: 3 August 2020, 17:06

There have been queues at various food outlets as the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme got under way - in a bid to help the struggling hospitality industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the scheme "has never been tried in the UK before".

But what does it mean for you, and which restaurants are taking part?

What is the scheme?

Between 3 and 31 August, diners will get a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks at participating restaurants, cafes and pubs across the UK.

The offer is only available from Mondays to Wednesdays and people will receive a maximum discount of £10 per head.

Therefore if two people spend £50, they can only receive a discount of £20.

The discount also applies for children and groups of any size.

Businesses will be able to claim the money back from the government and will have the funds in their bank account within five working days.

Will I need a voucher?

No, you do not need a voucher to use the scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts.

Is there a minimum spend?

No.

If, for example, you bought £5 worth of food from a participating business, you would pay £2.50.

What can I claim the discount on?

The discount applies to food and non-alcoholic drinks. This includes soft drinks and packaged snacks, as long as they are to be consumed immediately on the premises.

It does not apply to alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, food or drink that is to be consumed off the premises, and food or drink that is sold as part of a private party, event or function.

Therefore, this does not apply to food or drink served at weddings, takeaways, or mobile food vans.

The discount also cannot be claimed on service charges.

Which businesses are taking part?

Businesses on the scheme include restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, work and school canteens, and food halls.

You can search for participating restaurants near you by going on to the government website, where there is an option to put in your postcode and find restaurants within a five-mile radius.

Both independent businesses and larger chains are among more than 72,000 establishments taking part, including Zizzi, Pizza Express, Nando's, McDonald's, and Bill's.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Many places will have posters in their windows.

It is worth remembering that some large chains, such as Starbucks, are franchises, so not all branches may be taking part.

Is there a limit on how many times I can use the scheme?

No, you can use it as many times as you like.

In theory, you could eat at multiple restaurants on the same day and claim the discount.

What happens if we split the bill?

Restaurants will offer the discount on the total bill, regardless of how much your individual meal costs.

For example, if you have £16 worth of food and drink, and your friend spends £25, the restaurant will take £20 off the £41 total.

You may wish to work out how much each person owes after you have paid the bill, rather than being charged separately.

Why is the scheme running?

The government wants to encourage customers to head back to restaurants, which have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

It aims to drum up trade on quieter days of the week and help keep businesses afloat.