Restaurant sales drop in second week of Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Restaurants and pubs have reported a slight drop-off in sales during the second week of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to new figures.

Sales collectively fell by 13% between Monday August 10 and Wednesday August 12 compared with the same period a week earlier, according to research by hospitality software business Fourth.

It said that “quick-service restaurants” saw sales slide by 30% in the second week, while other restaurant sales fell by 6%.

Meanwhile, sales at pubs and bars were down 20% against the previous week.

Coronavirus – Mon Aug 3, 2020
Coronavirus – Mon Aug 3, 2020

However, sales were still significantly higher than trading before the initiative had started, with sales across all three areas up 30% against the period two weeks earlier.

Fourth also said that the majority of firms using the scheme have reported sales figures inclusive of the Eat Out to Help Out discount and are therefore understating their total revenues.

The data, which analysed more than 700 companies across the sector, revealed that sales were up by 50% between Monday August 3 and Wednesday August 5, against the previous week, highlighting a strong start to the initiative.

It said this showed a 70% sales increase for restaurants, while pubs and quick-service restaurants rose by 26% and 22% respectively.

Fourth added that initial data “doesn’t indicate a drop-off in trade between Thursday and Sunday” compared with the previous week, amid concerns the offer would impact other trading days.

For the second week of the initiative, operators also boosted their staffing levels to meet increased demand, reporting a 4% increase in hours worked by staff against the previous week.

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Fourth, said: “With uncertainty around consumer demand in the first week of the initiative, and some employees still furloughed, operators were understandably cautious with managing their staffing levels.

“However, following the positive spike in trading during the first week, there has been an increase in the number of hours scheduled in the industry, which in turn will have a positive impact on the overall customer experience, which is crucial to ensuring the initiative generates a sustained positive impact for the industry.”