Operators extend ‘eat out’ scheme

Dining discount credited with boosting trade and consumer confidence

Take two: Tigerlily’s Sam Campbell, Jamie Crothall and Georgia Noble launch the scheme

OPERATORS across Scotland have extended the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme throughout September after crediting the UK Government initiative with boosting trade and consumer confidence last month.

Under the scheme introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak, bars and restaurants registered for the initiative could offer customers a discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks – up to £10 per person – every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August. Operators were then able to claim the discount back from the UK Government. There have been repeated calls from the trade for the UK Government to extend the scheme for September.

But several operators across Scotland have opted to extend the concept themselves, claiming the dining discounts were good for business and consumer confidence on reopening after the coronavirus lockdown.

Edinburgh operator Montpeliers is continuing the discount in its Tigerlily, Rabble, Indigo Yard and Montpeliers venues, offering consumers 50% off their bill, up to the value of £10 per person, Monday to Wednesday throughout September.

Montpeliers managing director, Innes Bolt, said August’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme “connected us back to our customers and supported our teams’ return to work”.

“We were so grateful that our customers chose to take advantage of the scheme by booking in with us, so we wanted to keep it going as a thank you to them,” he said.

“It’s worth us extending the offer and footing the bill throughout September just to reward them and keep spirits high. Our venues are about having fun and we want to keep reminding people that that is still possible, even if it’s a bit different to normal.

“I think extending Eat Out to Help Out through September will build on that customer confidence and encourage future bookings. Customer trust is the main thing and that’s what the scheme has helped with during a difficult time.”

The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen

Inverness-based Cru Holdings, whose venues include Prime and Scotch & Rye, is also extending the discount scheme this month as a “thank you to our customers”.

Owner Scott Murray said: “Without the support of our loyal customers and the government incentive things would be very different.

“As customers continue to eat out and support our businesses they are also keeping our staff employed, supporting the supply chain as we continue to use our suppliers and allowing us to build our staff morale.”

The Cawley Group has also extended the incentive throughout September across its six outlets, which include Duck Bay at Loch Lomond and Coast in Langbank.
Alan Cawley said: “Eat Out to Help Out in August was fantastic; we were very busy.

“We decided to roll it out ourselves for September – I just feel in the current situation you’ve got to keep the wheels turning. If we can continue the volumes we’ve been doing it will be worth it.”

In Aberdeen, The Chester Hotel has launched a scheme called ‘Missed Out On Eating Out?’ which will give diners 50% off all food in its al fresco area Monday to Wednesday between September 1 and 16.

Owner Graham Wood said: “People living in Aberdeen missed out on the chancellor’s scheme due to the localised lockdown. We’re giving everyone the opportunity to eat out with us with a generous discount for three weeks in September.

“People have missed out on family celebrations and friendly get togethers for many months now and we hope the Missed Out On Eating Out campaign gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy some properly distanced socialisation.”

Multiple operator Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group is extending the scheme at five of its eight hotels – Bowfield in Howwood, The Busby Hotel in Glasgow, The Commercial Hotel in Wishaw, The Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone and The Torrance Hotel in East Kilbride.

Managing director David Tracey said the company wants to “offer something extra to our customers to thank them and to help them enjoy the benefits of this scheme a little while longer”.

And the team behind Glasgow outdoor restaurant Cranside Kitchen is offering diners choosing from the five restaurant menus it offers – Rioja, Halloumi, Pickled Ginger, Kilmurry & Co and La Rotunda – 50% off their food bill, up to the value of £10 per person, Monday to Wednesday until September 30.

Restaurateur Toni Carbajosa said: “The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has definitely boosted confidence in the Scottish hospitality sector and boosted business for restaurants.

“It has been very popular and successful and with this in mind, we wanted to offer our own spin on it and introduce 50% off food across all five restaurants brands at Cranside Kitchen as well as our restaurants located in the southside of Glasgow – Kilmurry & Co and Halloumi Southside.”