According to the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), only a quarter of eligible businesses in the hospitality sector have signed up to the new ‘Eat out to help out scheme’.
It is believed that since registration for the scheme just 32,362 out of an estimated 130,000 eligible businesses have signed up since registration opened on 13 July.
The coffee retailer Costa became the latest major chain to sign up for the scheme which gets underway in August, joining the likes of Burger King, McDonald’s, Harvester, Nando’s, Pizza Hut and JD Wetherspoon.
The scheme was announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, earlier this month. It offers diners 50 per cent off meals up to £10 per head, when eating in from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
It has been introduced in a bid to boost the struggling £130 billion hospitality industry and support 1.8 million jobs.
To help prospective diners identify participating restaurants, the government has designed posters to display in windows, on walls and restaurant tables. A website is expected to launch in the next few days to allow diners to search for local restaurants before it goes live on 3 August.
Customers will not need a voucher, as participating establishments will apply the discount to their bill. Businesses will reclaim the discounted amount through an online service, supported by HMRC.
Claims can be made every week and will be paid into bank accounts within five working days.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “Although restaurants and establishments can register now for the scheme, some may choose not to register until the scheme is launched to the public. Businesses are working hard to ensure their premises are COVID-safe and have plenty of time to sign up. HMRC anticipate a high level of take-up but respect that some restaurants may not choose to take part.”
For more information on registering for the scheme go to https://bit.ly/3j3w0B3