West Midlands diners save £30 million with Eat Out To Help Out scheme

West Midlands diners ate more than 5.2 million meals last month under the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme – saving nearly £30m.

According to official figures just over 5,000 restaurants took part in the scheme across the whole of the region, claiming £29.4m off food and drink at an average discount of £5.58 per meal.

The promotion gave up to 50 per cent off in participating eateries, with a maximum discount of £10 per person, and ran Monday to Wednesday throughout August.

Across the Black Country and Wyre Forest 751 restaurants took part in the scheme, serving up 821,000 meals with a total discount of £4.5m.

In Wolverhampton 122,000 meals were served over the course of the month, saving diners £714,000. The average amount claimed in the city per meal was £5.58.

Walsall saw 143 places take part. They served up 196,000 meals at a discount of £1.1m. In Sandwell 205 restaurants got involved, serving 253,000 meals at a discount of £1.4m.

In Dudley 160 restaurants registered for the scheme, serving 173,000 discounted meals and saving customers £926,000.

Meanwhile across parts of Staffordshire, 452 registered restaurants served 474,000 meals, saving £2.9m.

Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich East, said she was "absolutely thrilled" with the take up of the scheme.

She said: "Eat Out to Help Out was always about far more than just giving people money off their meals – it was about protecting jobs which are reliant on businesses which have really struggled through coronavirus.

"I have no doubt that there are businesses today which, without this brilliant scheme, may not have made it through the summer. I hope local people will continue to support them in the months ahead."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme would help to "drive" Britain's economic recovery post-Covid-19. "Today’s figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success," he added.

Data from OpenTable shows bookings increased by an average of 52 per cent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019.

Restaurants have until the end of this month to claim on the scheme, meaning the final figures are likely to be far higher.

Plea for seconds as Eat Out scheme goes down a treat

Business leaders have called for an extension to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme – which they say has prevented restaurants from going to the wall post-lockdown.

The Government scheme covered half the cost of meals and soft drinks at participating restaurants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August, up to £10 per head.

MPs and business leaders today hailed its impact in boosting trade and helping to prevent widespread closures in the region’s hospitality industry.

Official figures released from HM Revenue & Customs show just over 5,000 restaurants took part in the scheme in the West Midlands, with customers saving £29.4m off food and drink at an average discount of £5.58 per meal.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures show that the scheme has been an incredible success.

“Not only did it give the hospitality industry a much-needed boost, it also gave people the confidence to come out of the house and get back into public in a safe, controlled environment.

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“You almost can’t put a cost on getting people active in the economy and rebuilding that confidence.

“I believe the Government should consider extending the scheme for a longer period, particularly in the build up to Christmas when a lot of these businesses may otherwise struggle.”

Wolverhampton Business Forum chairman Sham Sharma, who runs Zuri Coffee in Lichfield Street, said the scheme had undoubtedly saved some restaurants from going bust.

“In particular, the restaurants outside of the city centre did really, really well from it,” he added. “I’ve spoken to a number of owners who said they were amazingly busy for the month.

“They were inundated with bookings and saw a big boost off the back of the scheme.

“Unfortunately people didn’t come into the city in great numbers. Car park charges are too high and people don’t want to use public transport. The Government has done well to attract people back into restaurants, but Wolverhampton needs to do more to get people into the city centre.”

Walsall South saw the biggest take up of the scheme across the Black Country, with 74 restaurants claiming for 136,000 meals, saving customers £739,000.

In Dudley South, 64 restaurants claimed for 94,000 meals, with customers saving £455,000 over the course of the month.

'Thrilled'

In Staffordshire, 114 restaurants took part in the scheme in Stone, claiming £798,000 for 108,000 discounted meals.

In Lichfield 112 restaurants claimed discounts for 131,000 meals, saving £787,000 at an average discount of £5.98 per meal.

Stafford also saw a high take up, with the town seeing 93 restaurants claim £559,000 for 98,000 discounted meals.

Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich East, said she was “absolutely thrilled” with the take up in her constituency, where £471,000 was claimed back for 91,000 meals served.

She said: “Eat Out to Help Out was always about far more than just giving people money off their meals – it was about protecting jobs which are reliant on businesses which have really struggled through coronavirus.

“I have no doubt that there are businesses today which, without this brilliant scheme, may not have made it through the summer. I hope local people will continue to support them in the months ahead.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme would help to “drive” Britain’s economic recovery post-Covid-19. “Today’s figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success,” he added.

Data from OpenTable shows bookings increased by an average of 52 per cent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019.

The success of the scheme has resulted in many eateries continuing their own versions of the scheme this month.

Nationally, more than 100m meals were claimed under the scheme, which was wound down on August 31. A total of 84,700 establishments signed up to take part, claiming around £522 million so far.

Restaurants have until the end of this month to claim on the scheme, meaning the final figures are likely to be far higher.

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