Diners used the Eat Out to Help Out program more than 64 million times in its first three weeks, according to the latest figures from Treasury.
The program, which is now in its last week, offers restaurant, pub and cafe patrons 50% off their meals, up to a maximum of £ 10 per person.
It takes place every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August to encourage support for the hotel industry.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the program supported nearly two million jobs.
“Today’s numbers continue to show that the British support hospitality – with over 64 million discounted meals so far, that’s the equivalent of almost every person in the country who dines at the restaurant to protect his job.
“This program reminded us how much we love to dine out and, in doing so, how it helps protect the jobs of the nearly two million people who work in the hospitality industry. ”
According to restaurant booking website OpenTable, the number of customers at UK restaurants between Monday and Wednesday last week was 61% higher than last year.
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The Treasury said 84,000 restaurants have now signed up for the program, which ends Aug. 31.
Eat Out to Help Out aims to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million employees in the hospitality industry by encouraging people to return to local restaurants where social distancing rules now apply.
About 80% of hotel companies went out of business in April and 1.4 million workers were laid off – the highest proportions of any industry – according to government data.
David Page, President of Fulham Shore, which owns Franco Manca and The Real Greek, said: “Eat Out to Help Out immediately increased the number of customers at our restaurant by over 50%, allowing us to hand over all our staff. at work. , we are now creating new jobs. “
No vouchers are needed, as the participating institution simply deducts 50% of the bill, up to a maximum of £ 10 per person, and collects the money from the Treasury.
However, the reduction only applies to food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed on site and does not apply to take-out.
There is no limit on the number of times the discount can be used in August, nor on the number of people, including children.
However, the system has come under criticism. In July, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted that it would most likely be a “gift” that would benefit those who are well-off enough to eat out.
Anti-obesity activists have said the program “would be a green light to promote junk food.” And some restaurateurs feared the measures would attract diners earlier in the week to the detriment of weekend commerce.