How to grab a half price meal out in August

Want to take advantage of the Government’s new ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme this summer? Here’s the lowdown.

Friends eating out at restaurant

Eating at a café, pub or restaurant could get a lot cheaper from 3-31st August when the new ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ discount comes into play.

If you head out for a sit-down meal on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at any point during the month, you will get half your bills covered by the Government – up to a maximum of £10 per person, per meal.

Why is this happening?

The Government has taken this step in a bid to boost the ailing hospitality industry which was hit hard by lockdown measures introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many eating establishments were forced to close, and many workers were put on furlough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the announcement – aimed at encouraging a return to cafes, pubs and restaurants as lockdown eases – in his mini budget on July 9.

His aim is to support businesses and save jobs by boosting consumer confidence in eating out.

Which venues are eligible?

Any eatery which serves food to be consumed on its premises can apply via the Government website to offer the discount.

How many food establishments have signed up?

Registrations for the scheme opened in the middle of July, and figures suggest around a quarter of the 130,000 venues eligible for it are set to take part. Venues can register online here.

So where can I eat for half price?

Many of the big chains have already signed up, including All Bar One, Browns, Burger King, Café Rouge, Carluccio’s, Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s Harvester, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Pret, Prezzo, TGI Fridays, Toby Carvery and Wagamama.

The expectation is that lots of local, independent outlets will also take part.
You will soon be able to search here to find local venues which have signed up. Participating restaurants will also display official promotional posters in their windows.

Are there any limits?

No. The discount, which applies across the whole menu, can be used as many times as you like – but only from Mondays to Wednesdays.

There are also no limits on the number of people in one party who can use the discount – including children.

There is no minimum spend requirement.

Can I get a takeaway coffee or takeaway meal half price?

No. The discount only applies to food and drinks consumed on the premises. The scheme is all about encouraging people to eat in. Mobile food vans are also not eligible for the scheme.

Does the discount apply to alcohol?

No. You can only get the discount of up to 50% on the food and soft drink menu.

Can I still make use of other offers?

Yes. You can take advantage of the Government discount alongside other promotions and discounts the venue is offering.

Establishments must apply the discount on top of their own existing offers or discount schemes.

How will I be billed?

When you look at a menu, meals and drinks will still be shown at full price. But when you come to pay, the venue will take the money off your bill automatically – meaning you don’t have to do anything. The venue will then claim the money back from the Government. Refunds should hit a venue’s accounts within five working days.

How else can I save money this summer?

With schools breaking up for the holidays, many parents may be wondering how they are going to keep the kids entertained for the long summer break – without breaking the bank. Here’s some tips to help you on your way:

  • Get a National Trust membership – a family membership for two adults at the same address costs £126 (and covers two children or grandchildren). This gives you free access to a host of gardens and parklands – and houses, as they start to re-open – as well as free parking. You and your little ones can enjoy all manner of outdoor activities, including bikes rides, themed trails and family picnics.
  • Make use of points – if you’ve been busy saving up supermarket points, such as Tesco Clubcard points, now could be the time to convert them into part of the cost of a theme park entrance ticket. Venues such as Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers are now open – albeit with new rules to keep you safe, including restrictions on visitor numbers and empty rows on rides, which could mean longer queues. Tesco Clubcard partners with all these theme parks. Also check out Nectar points from Sainsbury’s for more discounts on days out.
  • Take a trip to the cinema – with cinemas starting to re-open, check out offers for you and the children. Vue Cinema, for example, offers ‘Mini Mornings’ with tickets for kids’ films from £2.49 for both children and adults. Elsewhere, Odeon offers a ‘Family Ticket’ where adults pay child’s prices (based on two adults and two children, or one adult and three children).
  • Check out voucher deals – cut the cost of day trips to theme parks, zoos and cinemas by finding discounts on sites such as Vouchercodes.co.uk and Netvouchercodes.co.uk.
  • Visit a free museum – there are oodles of free museums across the UK, covering everything from science and history to comics and film. Family favourites such as the Natural History Museum (opening August 5) and the Science Museum (opening August 19) won’t cost you a penny. But be aware that you will need to pre-book.
  • Go swimming – outdoor swimming pools have started to re-open, with indoor pools set to re-open from July 25. So now could be the time to splash out on a day at the local lido.

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