Food sales in Britain’s managed pubs and group restaurants have risen by a third week on week since the launch of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to research by leading data consultancy CGA.
The data, from CGA’s Volume Pool of 7,000 managed outlets, reveals that on the first day of the initiative, Monday 3 August, food sales were 100% up on the previous Monday (27 July), with similar surges of 95% and 106% on Tuesday and Wednesday (4 and 5 August).
This follows news from the government that diners used the scheme more than 10.5 million times in the first week.
With the Eat Out to Help Out deal only available from Mondays to Wednesdays, there was some uncertainty over whether it will benefit trade later in the week. CGA’s data shows that following the first three days of the scheme, sales on the Thursday were down 4% week-on-week. However, across the full seven days, there was a 31% rise in food sales week-on-week.
CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse survey reveals that the initiative has brought a wave of consumers back to restaurants—just over a quarter (27%) of British adults had used the scheme by Tuesday 11 August. Even more (31%) said they had yet to use it but are likely to do so before the end of August.
Crucially, the scheme appears to have achieved the sector’s hope of bringing back people who were previously hesitant about eating out. Two in five (39%) of those who have used Eat Out to Help Out were making their first visit to the sector since the end of lockdown. Of those who are still to eat or drink out, a quarter (26%) say they are likely to make use of the scheme before it ends.
Some of the consumers brought back by the initiative will have been anxious about their safety. Over half (52%) said that the experience made them feel more confident about going out in the near future, and most of the rest (45%) said their confidence was unaffected.
With trust rising, there are strong signs that the scheme will gather momentum in the second half of August. More than half (57%) of consumers who plan to use it said they would do so at least weekly, and only 17% said they would use it only once.
The Consumer Pulse survey shows that a quarter (26%) of adults would be less likely to eat out at weekends having made use of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but half (54%) said their frequency would be unaffected, and a fifth (20%) would be more likely.