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Although some people have dubbed the upcoming ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme as a bit of a gimmick, I’m quite keen on the idea. There’s a pub just over a mile from where I live that does excellent fish and chips. I haven’t been for years, but the other day I got an email to say they’re taking part in the scheme. Cheap fish and chips? I’m in! But there’s still some confusion about Eat Out to Help Out, registration and how the scheme works – so I’ve put together this short guide to help you.

What is Eat Out to Help Out?

Eat Out to Help Out is a scheme that’s designed to encourage customers to visit restaurants, bars, cafés and pubs. Many have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and have only been allowed to open their doors again since 4th July.

The scheme allows individuals to get a 50% discount on eat-in food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a value of £10 per diner. The government pays the other 50%. To qualify, you must visit a participating outlet – which may also include food halls, plus work and school canteens.

When does the scheme run?

The scheme runs on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August.

How does Eat Out to Help Out registration work?

If you run a qualifying premises, you can register online. To qualify, your establishment must:

  • Sell food for immediate consumption on premises
  • Have its own or a shared dining area for eat-in meals
  • Be registered as a food business with the relevant local authority before 7 July.

If you only offer takeaway food and drink, are a hotel providing only room service, or are a catering service for private functions, you cannot register. Similarly, dining services (such as packaged dinner cruises) and mobile food vans will be excluded.

I own more than one food outlet. Do I register them all?

Yes. If you have fewer than 25 establishments, you must provide details of each one. If you have 25 or more, you must provide a link to a website that has the trading name and address of each outlet.

What happens after I register?

You get a reference number, which you will need for reimbursement. Once you have it, you can begin to claim reimbursements on a weekly basis from 7 August. You will also be added to the list of registered establishments.

Reimbursements. Are they taxable?

Yes, they are taxable income. You will also have to pay VAT based on the full amount of each bill.

Where can I find a list of participating outlets?

On 31 July, government will launch a service that lets you find nearby participants. You will be able to enter a postcode and the service will show you participating businesses within a 2-mile radius.

I need help understanding how the scheme works. What do I do?

If you’re a food business needing help with how the scheme works, how you register or how you get reimbursed, take a look at the government guidance. If you need any help with understanding how the scheme will affect your accounting or tax calculations, please get in touch with your THP account manager. They will be delighted to help you.

Bon appétit!

Avatar for Jon Pryse-Jones
About Jon Pryse-Jones

Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board.  “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says.  He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.

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