West Norfolk businesses reflect on success of Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Many business owners in West Norfolk say the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a big success - but there are pockets of dissatisfaction.
Under the government initiative, customers are entitled to a discount of up to £10 per person on food and soft drinks at participating businesses from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
With the scheme coming to an end on Monday, many traders have been glad of the boost to their tills as the public steadily gains more confidence post-lockdown.
Nick Skerritt, owner of King William IV Country Inn and Restaurant at Sedgeford, says it has been a “fantastic” August and Eat Out to Help Out had certainly helped.
“I believe some of the customers we’ve had definitely would not have come without the scheme,” he added. “And I think there’s also been a partial shift of people from Friday and Saturday nights to Monday to Wednesdays.”
With indoor seating reduced to 90 and 60 seats outdoors, Mr Skerritt is hoping for good weather throughout September, which is looking busy for bookings.
Outdoor seating has been popular too at Market Cross Cafe Bar in Swaffham, with owner Kay Wells noticing several customers are happier in the open air.
She said: “We only reopened three weeks ago - about a week after the scheme started - and we’ve been extremely busy. People have been very happy when they have received the discount.
“I personally think the scheme has been at the wrong time. I’d have preferred it in October when the holiday trade is over and the weather is not so good. It’s a bit of a scary winter ahead.”
Meanwhile, some eateries chose not to take part.
A spokesman for The Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton said it had been busy enough without offering discounts and he knew of places which had pulled out of the scheme due to “customers’ poor behaviour and attitude”.