As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Except during August 2020 that is! Since the Chancellor unveiled the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme to boost the hospitality sector following the national re-opening of pubs and restaurants on 4th July, we’ve been on the look-out for participating venues across Kent and Sussex.
As part of the scheme, which is aimed at getting “customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs” and protecting “the 1.8 million people who work in them”, diners will receive a 50% (up to £10 off per person) discount on their food and soft drinks when they eat out on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday during August. The offer can be used unlimited times throughout the month and applies to participating restaurants, cafes and pubs – even food stalls at cinemas and other attractions.
With the kids at home during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of not having to prepare all those sandwiches and get ready to relax whilst enjoying a delicious, inexpensive meal out. If you’re not sure where to go, here are just a few selected places offering the 50% discount to tempt your taste buds.
A few national chains have already confirmed they will be participating in the scheme, including All Bar One, Browns, Burger King, Frankie & Benny’s, Harvester, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Slug and Lettuce, Toby Carvery and Wagamama.
Independent restaurants, pubs and cafes
Meanwhile, there are several independents that will be offering the discount. If you’re partial to an Indian, Secret Spices in Margate is looking forward to participating in the scheme, with the restaurant recently saying “everyone loves a cheeky discount at a restaurant…it’s helping the business out and helping our customers out as well, with everything going on at the moment and money being tight”.
Over in Brenchley, near Tunbridge Wells, country pub Halfway House is excited to welcome guests Monday to Wednesday during their “quieter times”, giving them a “chance to extend the weekend.” Manager Samuel Allen says, “customers will be able to get a 10-ounce sirloin steak, with mushroom, tomatoes, chips and stilton for £8.75 – that’s better than cooking at home”.
Other venues taking part include The Poacher and Partridge, Tonbridge; Bay Tree Bar & Grill and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Folkestone; The Hive, Cranbrook; This Ancient Boro, Tenterden; The Smugglers Lounge Bar and Restaurant, Birchington; The Five Bells, Chelsfield; Camden Arms, Pembury; Pearsons Arms, Whitstable; Frederic Bistro, Maidstone; Dog and Duck Inn and The Foundry Brew Pub, Canterbury; The Lydden Bell and The Marquis of Granby, Dover; The Farriers Arms, Ashford; Harper’s Bar and Restaurant and Taddy’s Barn Tea Rooms and Eatery, Broadstairs; Read’s Restaurant, Faversham; The Cosy Kettle, Hamstreet; Giorgios, Rendezvous and Lester’s Family Pub and Restaurant, Margate; The George Inn, Newnham, The Orpington, Orpington; The John Brunt VC, Paddock Wood; The Queen Phillippa and Jacey’s Bistro and Bar, Queensborough; Rodmersham Coffee Shop, The Three Hats, The Fountain of Ale and Tacos Locos, Sittingbourne; and The Flying Horse, Smarden.
Hotel accommodation and holidays
The great thing about the Government’s latest scheme is that it also applies to participating hotels and B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites. So, if you’re venturing out for a few days over the summer, be sure to check out these top vacation venues, too.
Broome Park Hotel and Golf Resort, Canterbury, has confirmed it will be participating and is currently open for accommodation, golf, food and drinks. The swimming pool and the gym are due to reopen on 25th July. It’s advisable to contact the resort early on for more information as there will be limited capacity for guests.
Holiday Inn Maidstone-Sevenoaks will be offering the 50% discount in their restaurants in August. They are also launching their new al fresco dining menu to enjoy on their terraces; and to give you a taster of what you might like on the menu, they’ll be serving seafood sharing boards, Club sandwiches, afternoon teas and a selection of jugs, pitchers and fizz.
Although Park Holidays are not taking part in the scheme, they have confirmed they will be passing on the recently announced “VAT cut” to their customers instead*.
Of course, it’s still early days and we’re confident many more businesses across the region will be joining the scheme over the coming weeks. The best way to find out is to look out for the “Eat Out to Help Out” posters outside each participating venue. And don’t forget, it’s best to make a reservation to avoid disappointment, as spaces will be limited to meet the required social distancing measures.
‘Eat Out to Help Out’ is definitely an opportunity not to be missed and a chance to finally dine out a bit more this summer. We already know where we’re heading – do you?
*In his recent statement, the Chancellor also announced that VAT has been reduced to 5% for UK hospitality and tourism industries from 15th July for a period of six months, to help businesses bounce back as quickly as possible. Don’t miss our next blogpost, in which we’ll be sharing our round-up of venues and attractions passing their savings onto customers.