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‘Rammed’ - Restaurants ‘overwhelmed’ by rampant demand from Eat Out to Help Out

PUBLISHED: 05:30 22 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:56 22 August 2020

Diane Syrette (left) with her daughter Sam Osborne at their Regent St cafe, Mocha. The pair said Eat Out to Help Out had been fantastic for their business - and they were sad to see the government support come to an end on August 31. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Diane Syrette (left) with her daughter Sam Osborne at their Regent St cafe, Mocha. The pair said Eat Out to Help Out had been fantastic for their business - and they were sad to see the government support come to an end on August 31. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Archant

As the government’s Eat Out to Help Out rescue package for the hospitality industry comes to a close, restaurant owners have described feeling “overwhelmed” by the public’s support.

Around 4000 businesses signed up to be part of the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme in the East of England. Photo: HMRCAround 4000 businesses signed up to be part of the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme in the East of England. Photo: HMRC

The initiative, which for many eateries has “turned Monday into the new Saturday”, offers 50pc off food and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays - all the way up until August 31.

For owners Diane Syrette and her daughter Sam Osborne, their Regent Street cafe Mocha has been “rammed” since they signed up to the scheme.

Ms Syrette said: “It‘s been overwhelming, and has helped us no end.

“Mondays to Wednesdays have been completely rammed from the week the scheme started and are booked up until the day it finishes.

Staff members at Nicky's Cafe and Diner enjoyed a busy lunchtime rush on Friday, August 21 - despite the offer being invalid after a Wednesday. Photo: Sarah BurgessStaff members at Nicky's Cafe and Diner enjoyed a busy lunchtime rush on Friday, August 21 - despite the offer being invalid after a Wednesday. Photo: Sarah Burgess

“Some days we’re 100-150 people, and we’re taking more money than we normally would be without coronavirus.”

She added: “On the days where it’s empty, you can really see just how crucial that government support is.”

Likewise for The Dining Room along the promenade, staff member Aly Reeve said that the scheme had “switched the week around”.

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She said: “The prom has definitely done well out of the government scheme. Everywhere you look it’s busy.

“Monday is now another Saturday.”

But for Sarah Burch who runs Nicky’s Cafe and Diner, she admitted the scheme “hasn’t made much difference” to her business.

She said: “I don’t know if it’s because our food is reasonably priced anyway - and so the deal is less of an incentive - but we’re actually busier towards the end of the week.

“You wouldn’t think the government is offering to pay half the bill.”

At Ti’s Bar and Grill in Hemsby, however, it’s clear that the scheme has been victim of its own success.

In a Facebook post, the manager revealed the restaurant would be pulling out of the scheme from next week because of the “strain” it was placing on staff.

She said: “We have been inundated with customers and, while trying to keep the quality and standard of food and service we require, we don’t feel like this can happen anymore.

“The Eat Out scheme has put great strain on my staff, especially in the kitchen, where it’s nearly impossible to stay at a safe distance from each other.

“While we thank our customers for the co-operation, we do feel that some of the Mon-Wed customers seem to think the pandemic is over - which it is not!”


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