Cotswold bars and restaurants hail success of Rishi’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative

Photo shows: The Golden Cross in Cirencester offering more than just food
Eat out to help out

Pubs, restaurants and cafes across the region have taken part in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The initiative, which ran every Monday to Wednesday in August came to an end on the final August Bank Holiday and Cotswold restaurant owners are please with the result.

In a bid to get the hospitality sector back up and running, the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme gave all customers a 50% discount on all food and drink, except alcohol.

Rob Goves, a director of the Relish Group which runs Jack’s Tearoom and Kitchen in Cirencester, The Old Prison in Northleach and The Gateway at the Lakes thinks it has been a great incentive to get people out again and using hospitality.

He said: “The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme has been a fantastic initiative to engage with and encourage both those customers who were regulars before lockdown, as well as those who may not have visited any of our venues before, to start eating out once again.

“We chose to extend the offer further by removing the £10 cap per head, meaning each food and soft beverage bill was discounted by 50%. This was partly an operational decision to manage our till process but also our way of saying thank you to customers who had chosen to eat out with Relish.

Jacks cafe Cirencester

Interestingly, though not unsurprisingly, the scheme has had a moderate impact on our weekend trade but in turn has certainly generated incremental business, with an increase in the average order value.”

The Bathurst Arms in North Cerney has recently reopened and its director, Jordan Pelly feels the scheme has encouraged people to visit the Cotswold pub. He said: “we had no idea what people would think of what we were doing nor who would come. Fortunately with the help of the government incentive to support eateries across the country people, gave the Bathurst another go.

“Week at a time, more and more people came and the pub is now booming with life again. It’s so exciting to be a part of our local community – Thanks Rishi.”

TeatroTéatro restaurant in Cirencester did not open on Wednesday’s but was encouraged to do so by Eat Out to Help Out. Many restaurants are now offering a discount post Eat Out to Help Out offer. Téatro is one of them, Manager Ryan Walters commented:  “It has been a brilliant initiative for Téatro, offering great discounts for our regular customers as well as encouraging many new customers to visit us for the first time. We are offering customers 25% off food on Sundays to continue offering a great discount.”

The Firehouse at Upton near Burford reopened in August with its new hours being Wednesday to Sunday breakfast and lunch, with a pizza night to eat in or take out on Wednesday nights, Wednesday was soon to become its busiest day. “We were sceptical about the scheme,” said business owner Jak Doggett, but soon realised that it was a great way to show people our new service and offerings. On Wednesday neither myself, nor business partner Sam Edwards could stop to take a breath.”

The Golden Cross Inn, Cirencester, had closed Monday and Tuesday and was only offering food at the weekend and at lunchtimes pre August. Landlord Mark Lindesay changed the openings to try to fit in with the scheme. “We are grateful for the footfall that it created. Staffing levels have had to go up to support it. I hope that people continue to visit the local pub or restaurant and do not forget us now that September is here.”