HMRC figures show that of around 130,000 eligible restaurants, bars and cafes, only 32,362 have registered since registration opened on July 13.
Eating out to help, which was revealed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this month, offers customers 50% off meals when they eat Monday through Wednesday in August. The reduction is capped at £ 10 per person.
Discounts will be on food and non-alcoholic beverages, and will apply to adults and children.
The scheme is designed to boost the struggling £ 130 billion hotel industry and support 1.8 million jobs. Registration started last week and outlets can register anytime until the last day of the program.
Starbucks has yet to sign up, while other businesses – including “wet” pubs, which don’t offer food, and small outlets, which may have a hard time serving customers. security – still wondering if it is profitable for them to join.
To help potential customers identify participating restaurants, the government has designed posters to be displayed in restaurant windows, walls and tables. A website is expected to launch in the coming days to allow customers to search for local restaurants before it goes live on August 3.
Customers do not need a voucher, as participating properties will apply the discount to their bill. Businesses will recover the reduced amount through an online service, supported by HMRC. Claims can be made on a weekly basis and will be paid to bank accounts within five business days.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “While restaurants and establishments can register for the program now, some may choose not to register until the program is launched to the public. Companies are working hard to make sure their premises are secured by Covid and have enough time to register. HMRC anticipates a high level of participation but respects the fact that some restaurants may not choose to participate. “