Eat Out to Help Out


Courtesy of Unsplash

An “Eat Out to Help Out” sticker on a restaurant window.

Kelsey Delaney, Contributing Writer

If you would have told me at the beginning of the summer that eating out would save the economy, I would have been thrilled. However, when it came to it, most people scoffed at the idea. Still, despite this brilliant innuendo, over in the United Kingdom this novel government scheme has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue. 

In the UK, the scheme Eat Out to Help Out was implemented in order to circulate money back into the economy, as well as to make people feel safe to eat out at their favorite restaurants again after the lockdown due to COVID-19. 

From Monday to Wednesday every week, starting August 3 till August 31, customers that dined-in were given 50 percent off on their entire meal at select restaurants in the UK. It was capped at 10 pounds off per-person. The British government paid the 50 percent reduction back to the businesses that took part. The businesses involved benefited greatly from this as over 64 million meals were served using the eat out to help out scheme. However, this discount only applied to customers who ate in the restaurant, not those who took their food away.  

The scheme was so successful that some restaurants have chosen to extend it past the August 31 end date, paying for the discount without Government support. I spent my summer in England so I was able to experience the success of the scheme first hand. It’s not a secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only left millions of people without jobs, many finding it hard to put food on the table for their families, but has also made many people uneasy about the idea of going out to eat amongst other things.

This scheme has enabled people to purchase amazing meals for their families at half the price, making it more affordable to them. This has not only helped those that live in the UK who are taking advantage of this scheme, but also helped over 83,000 restaurants and eateries to survive the repercussions of COVID-19. 

Being in the UK this summer has made me think about how a scheme like this would have helped a lot of the small local businesses like Cornell’s in Schenectady to stay open. Not to mention, it would also help a lot of the people that live in low-income communities, that might have been laid off due to the pandemic, to have a nice meal with their families that they otherwise would not have been able to afford. 

I think that the stimulus check that went out in mid-April was not sufficient enough for those that had been laid off. It can be very expensive to purchase good meals for your typical family of four, especially if one or more members of that household have been laid off. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme would have aided those that lost their jobs, and even those that did not, in this pandemic. 

In the UK, the number of COVID-19 related deaths have been steady since the country reopened most of its bars and restaurants, which shines a glimmer of hope into the lives of people everywhere. This means that reopening the outside world has not caused a massive spike in COVID-19 deaths, as originally anticipated. 

Overall, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was a massive success in circulating money back into the UK economy, as well as lessening fears surrounding COVID-19 in the UK. I believe that the UK has set a strong example throughout the entire pandemic, and their policies are something that the United States should look to in order to think about rehabilitating our economy.