Commenting on the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative coming into effect today, Will Hawkley, UK head of leisure at KPMG, said.
“There’s no question that the hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard by the nation’s lockdown, but recovery since social distancing measures have eased hasn’t been easy either. While some restaurant doors have reopened, consumers still struggle to shake off the words of caution that previously told them – in no uncertain terms – to remain at home. What’s more, the messaging on where and when to wear masks is still confusing and does not build consumer confidence – the key issue hindering any recovery for the sector.
“The Chancellor’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme was certainly a creative way for the government to encourage consumers to go out again. Who would have thought even six months ago that the government would be paying consumers to eat out in pubs and restaurants, and what is not to love about getting part of your bill paid? Having said that, the initiative needs to be viewed alongside the ebb and flow of the pandemic. We’re already starting to see local restrictions coming back into effect, and that’s not going to help consumer confidence.
“As we look ahead to August, we will no doubt see busy pub gardens in the suburbs. However, worries around what will happen in city centres or during the winter when the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, still remain.”
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