The Eat Out to Help Out scheme continued to revive the out-of-home eating sector in its third week, with daily food sales close to double those of a year ago.

Food sales last Monday (17 August) were 94% higher than the equivalent day in 2019, CGA’s Volume Pool of 7,000 managed outlets shows—the biggest year-on-year increase since the launch of the initiative. They were up by 86% and 76% on Tuesday and Wednesday (18 and 19 August) respectively.

Across the whole of last week, food sales were 15% higher than in the equivalent period in 2019—a significant increase on the 3% rise in the second week of the Eat Out to Help Out offer.

It follows news from the government that 29 million discounted meals were claimed last week, up from 10 million in the first week of the offer and 25 million in the second. Many restaurants, pubs and other participating outlets have reported fully-booked trading on the days of the scheme, which ends next Monday (31 August)—and some groups have already pledged to continue funding the discount themselves into September.

CGA’s data suggests the initiative had a halo effect on food sales over the rest of last week too. Food sales were up by 22% week-on-week last Thursday (20 August), and there was solid growth of between 6% and 7% on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (21, 22 and 23 August). Although sales on these four days were still well below 2019’s levels, they show that visits are mounting even at times when the Eat Out to Help Out deal is not available.

As well as boosting food sales, CGA’s research shows that the initiative has increased drinks turnover and accelerated the pace of reopenings. With many of those using the scheme out in the on-trade for the first time since lockdown, it has also helped to reassure hesitant consumers that they can have a safe experience in restaurants, pubs, cafes and other venues.

Eat Out to Help Out has given the sector a jumpstart at a time when it was most needed,” says Rachel Weller, CGA’s Head of Consumer Research and Marketing. “It’s reacquainted people with the pleasures of eating out and helped them overcome their safety concerns, and along with the VAT cut and other support measures it’s given operators’ sales and profits a crucial stimulus. With few signs that the scheme cannibalises sales later in the week, we can be cautiously optimistic that the momentum it has created may continue into the autumn months.”

For more about CGA’s research into the impact of Eat Out to Help Out and the tracking of the sector’s recovery, contact Jess Walsh at jess.walsh@cga.co.uk.

     

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