Pubs, cafes and restaurants serving food for on-premises consumption can now sign up to a new government initiative aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out.
Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments who use the scheme will offer a 50 per cent reduction, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all diners who eat and/or drink-in throughout August.
Johnnie Arkwright, who runs Hatton Arms and Hatton Country World between Warwick and Solihull, has welcomed the tax cut and meal voucher scheme as a saviour for many pubs, restaurants and cafes which continue to see a reduced footfall in visitors.
And now, summer sunshine could hold the key to a return to business as usual with the completion of the Hatton Arms’ outdoor Terrace Dining and new Garden Bar and barbecue.
Johnnie said: “The Government do appear to realise that with a population that has become used to dining at home and is nervous of confined spaces when going out, coupled with the reduction of capacity levels because of the need to socially distance, the avoidance of widespread carnage in a hospitality sector that provides three million jobs is a big challenge.”
The popular country pub, which was forced to close its doors in March just one month after a refurbishment, is now inviting diners to make the most of one of the best views in Warwickshire – from its own back garden.
Johnnie said: “The countryside has to be the answer for leading us out of lockdown. At Hatton Arms, Hatton Adventure World and Hatton Shopping Village we are lucky enough to have loads of fresh air and bags of space. And that’s what all of us cooped up at home for months are looking for.
“The Government’s new voucher scheme is a really good initiative that Hatton Arms and Hatton Country World will certainly be signing up to.
“And the reduction in VAT will help operators like us contend with the extra costs of introducing measures in line with Government Guidelines to maximise the safety of their guests and staff which is of course our top priority.”
Hatton’s Victorian farm buildings house 20 independent shops including a garden centre and farm shop, jewellers, antiques and furniture barns, gifts and home accessories, electric bike shop, gin distillery, cafe and pub.
Johnnie said: “We’re all feeling for the small independent shops that had to close in March and, on re-opening recently, remain fearful for their livelihoods.
“But the pandemic has revived a real sense of community, that desire to help those who have been hit the hardest. And we can help by giving these small businesses our custom.
Customers do not need a voucher for the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, as participating establishments will just remove the discount from their bill. Businesses can reclaim the discounted amount through an online service, supported by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Claims can be made on a weekly basis and will be paid into bank accounts within five working days.
The scheme is open to eligible establishments across the UK and can be used all day, every Monday to Wednesday, between 3 and 31 August 2020.
Businesses will receive a window sticker to show they are using the scheme and can download promotional items from GOV.UK.