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During the Summer Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the ‘Eat Out to Help Out scheme’. This scheme forms part of a range of measures designed to help the hospitality industry bounce back from the Covid-19 outbreak. 

It’s hoped that the scheme will encourage diners to return to their favourite participating pubs and restaurants, so let’s look at how it will work. 


How will it work?

Under the scheme diners can claim a 50% discount off their total bill up to £10 per head. The discount can be used at participating pubs, restaurants and cafes Monday – Wednesday throughout August. Unfortunately alcohol is excluded from the scheme, although the discount can be applied to non alcoholic drinks. 

There is no limit on the amount of times the scheme can be used and there is no minimum spend required to apply the discount.  The scheme will begin on 3rd August and finish on the 31st August – running a total of 13 days. 

If your business is eligible under the scheme and you’ve not already, find out how to register here

How and when can my business claim? 

You will be able to claim back the discount given on food and non-alcoholic drinks throughout August on a weekly basis. A claim can be made 7 days after registering for the scheme – the earliest you can submit a claim is the 7th August. 

To make a claim, you’ll need to login to the services using your Government Gateway user ID and password. You also need records of:

  • total number of diners who have used the discount (including children)
  • total amount of discount you’ve given
  • period you’re claiming for:
  • 3 – 5 August
  • 10 – 12 August
  • 17 – 19 August
  • 24 – 26 August
  • 31 August

You will be able to make a total of 5 claims until the end of September. HMRC have also stated that any claims must be made by yourself and not by an agent – although we’re on hand should you require any help throughout the process. 

Once you have submitted your claim you’ll receive a reference number. Once they have checked your claim, HMRC will pay the claim directly into your bank account (by BACs) within 5 working days. 

Keeping Records

It’s important to keep any records to show how many diners have used the discount and how much you have claimed. HMRC have advised to keep a record of the following: 

  • the total number of diners who have used the scheme discount in your establishment
  • the total value of all food and non-alcoholic drink sold under the scheme
  • the value of discount used by diners and claimed for by you

If you have more than one business using the scheme, individual records must be kept for each. 


VAT will still need to be calculated at the full amount of the diners bill (before the 50% discount is applied). If your POS system doesn’t allow for VAT to be accurately calculated, it will need to be manually amended after the sale. You can also gather more information about working out discounts here.

There are already a huge number of chain and independent pubs and restaurants who have signed up to the government scheme. All participating restaurants are published on this page, which allows diners to search for establishments within a 5 mile radius of their postcode.

As always, the team at GW Cox are on hand to guide you through this challenging time. If you would like to discuss any of the details outlines, please call a member of the team on 01255 850 002 or email


Author pubexperts

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