Diners can get up to 50% off their bill through the “eat out to help out” scheme.
Designed to boost the struggling hospitality industry, more than 10 million discounted meals were ordered in its first week.
But the scheme has been criticised by anti-obesity campaigners.
How does the scheme work?
The promotion gives people up to 50% off when eating or drinking soft drinks in a participating restaurant or other food establishment.
The maximum discount is £10 per person.
It is valid all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August, across the UK.
Food and drink will appear on the menu at full price, but the restaurant will take the money off the bill before claiming it back from the government.
Can I eat and drink anything?
The discount is only on food and soft drinks that you intend to have on the premises.
It does not apply to takeaways.
There is no limit on how many times you can use the discount, or for how many people, including children.
There’s no minimum spend and you don’t have to order food to be eligible. For example, a £3 coffee would cost £1.50 under the scheme.
The offer can be used in combination with any other promotions and discounts being offered by the venue.
Which food and drink places are taking part?
More than 83,000 businesses have signed up to the promotion, which covers participating:
- Restaurants (including those in hotels leisure centres and holiday parks)
- Bars and pubs that serve food
- Food halls with a seating area
- Members’ clubs
Catering services, bed and breakfasts and mobile food vans are not eligible.
Lots of local, independent pubs, restaurants and cafes are taking part, as well as big chains.
To be eligible they must have a designated dining or drinking area, or access to one. They must have been registered with their local authority since at least 7 July 2020.
- Ask Italian
- Burger King
- Caffe Nero
- Costa Coffee
- Cote Brasserie
- Five Guys
- Franco Manca
- Giggling Squid
- Honest Burgers
- M&S Cafe
- Pizza Express
- Pret a Manger
- Turtle Bay
- JD Wetherspoon
What are the rules for eating out?
These include social distancing, controlled access to toilets and the option of ordering food on apps.
You do not have to provide your details, but bars and restaurants have the right to refuse you service.
Why was ‘eat out to help out’ introduced?
Some venues have been able to provide a takeaway service during lockdown. But this often means lower average spending per head and fewer people employed.
The government hopes the discount will attract diners and boost confidence in going out to eat.
Why has the scheme been criticised?
Several fast-food chains are taking part in the scheme, which has drawn criticism from some anti-obesity campaigners. The National Obesity Forum, for example, has said it would be a ”green light to promote junk food”.
The discount scheme sits alongside the government’s healthy eating plan that bans “buy one get one free” deals on unhealthy food, amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and an increased risk from coronavirus.
When asked if the government was promoting mixed messages, Care Minister Helen Whately said under healthy eating plans, large chain restaurants will have to publish calorie breakdowns of their meals, helping diners to make an ”informed choice”.