The first signs of recovery were felt in Dundee’s restaurant trade yesterday as customers flocked to eateries to take advantage of the government’s new discount scheme.
The “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme launched yesterday and allows eat-in cafes and restaurants to offer food at up to 50% off its usual price and have their losses compensated by the government.
The savings are then passed on to customers, encouraging them to eat out more.
The new scheme has been adopted by businesses across Dundee, from larger businesses such as Starbucks and Sleeperz, to smaller independents.
It will last throughout August, however the deal is only available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and savings are limited to £10 per person.
Karen Martin, owner of the Tartan Coffee House on the Perth Road, praised the plan.
“I think it’s a great incentive for people who have suffered through lockdown with a loss of earnings,” she said.
“It’s encouraging, we’re really delighted to see customers return.
“We’ve had a lot of surprise from customers too. Some are really delighted, others are shocked and wanted to pay us 100%.
“The ones that want to pay the full bill have usually been working or furloughed all the way through lockdown and haven’t been able to spend their money.
“We’re planning to keep it going for the rest of August, as long as the government is supporting it.”
Other local businesses, such as the Giddy Goose, even had to turn customers away, after months of relying in home deliveries.
Elli MacDonough manager of the eatery, said: “It’s made the restaurant so much more popular, it’s really great for business.
“We were actually full today, we had to turn people away. It’s great as long as it’s done in a safe way.
“So far we haven’t actually had anyone mention it, but I presume that they’re pretty happy.
“As far as I know we’re going to keep it up throughout the rest of the month.
“I think people are coming out because of the lower prices and the fact that the government are condoning it.
“The staff seem good here, we’re all happy to wear a mask and keep safe.
“The plan will definitely help an industry which could have otherwise been badly damaged.”
The government plan has also proven popular among customers, with many taking advantage of the lower prices.
Lauren Banks, a customer at Giddy Goose, said: “It’s nice to help businesses out after such a tough time.
“Maybe you can come out a couple of extra times when you wouldn’t have been able to.”
Her friend, Lara Laayouni, added: “We actually didn’t realise before we came out tonight that the scheme had started, so it was kind of a nice surprise.
“I can see it bringing a lot more people out.”
Courtney Buchan, agreed that the Eat Out to Help Out plan has encouraged people to come out more, saying: “I think it’s great because people can save and use the money elsewhere.
“After lockdown I think a lot of people are just finding it nice to go out again.”