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Pub near Wolverhampton extends Eat Out to Help Out discount at own cost

The Greyhound in Lower Penn, near Wolverhampton, is offering half-price food up to a maximum of £10 per person on Mondays and Tuesdays until September 15 despite the official scheme coming to an end today.

The pub’s general manager Rume Manoharan said that the business would be bearing the costs of continuing the half-price deal.

Up to 64 million meals have been claimed in the three weeks since the scheme was launched on August 3 offering a state-funded discount of 50 per cent on food and soft drinks between Mondays and Wednesdays.

The popular Greyhound Lane dining venue, which offers traditional English food, reopened on July 4 after being shut during the coronavirus lockdown and was not in full operation until July 8.

  • Scroll down to read about national chains extending the offer
The Greyhound in Greyhound Lane

Mr Manoharan, who has been general manager for three years and part of the business for eight, said the Eat Out to Help Out scheme had proved hugely popular for customers.

“We have been averaging 180 to 200 covers through the lunchtime and evening,” he said.

“It has been great for us because post-lockdown we have gone from a 60 to 48 tables layout to comply with social distancing.

“Eat Out to Help Out has really worked well and we have seen many new customers as well who have been looking at the website to see where they could eat and have come to try us. It has resulted in a lot of repeat custom as well,” said a delighted Mr Manoharan.

“The scheme worked well running Mondays to Wednesdays which are not as busy as Saturdays and Sundays.

“It has been great for the whole restaurant trade,” he added.

The independent business offers food from midday to 2.30pm and 5pm to 9pm Monday to Saturday and midday to 6pm on Sundays and employs 30 full and part-time staff.

Mr Manoharan said the first two weeks after reopening had been tough.

“We were wondering if we were doing the right thing in reopening straight away, bit it has improved.

“At ‘pay’ weekends, just after people’s monthly pay day, we are now only 15 per cent down on the same time last year. That has been reassuring and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a God send to a business like ours.

“It has proved so successful we are carrying it on for a further fortnight and if it goes well will go on to the end of September.”

Mr Manoharan said walk-in diners were accepted where possible but advised people to book in advance by phone or email to avoid disappointment.

Alam International in Albion Parade, Wall Heath, is also extending the offer for September 1 to September 2, and September 7 to September 9.

A spokesman for the Alam International said: “To show our gratitude we are prepared to extend the scheme, at our cost, for a further two weeks.

“We are hoping to see you all back at the Alam and once again many thanks for your support.”

Meanwhile The Birmingham Restaurant Group, operators of award-winning restaurants Ashas and Zen Metro in Birmingham city centre and Ashas at Touchwood in Solihull, are also continuing with their own version of Eat Out to Help Out in September.

Director Pawan Kenth said: “As a thank you to all the customers who have supported us in August via the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, we have decided to continue throughout September, from Monday to Friday, by offering £5 off to all customers subject to a minimum spend on all food.

“Having prepared carefully for reopening, with stringent health and safety measures in place, we have been fully booked throughout August and we wanted to say ‘Thank You’ to all our customers, old and new, for the fantastic support they have shown us.

“These have been challenging times and by working together, we have able to bring back our fabulous food and drink offer in all three restaurants, and this has clearly been welcomed by our patrons.

National chains continue discount deals

A number of national chains have also taken it into their own hands to continue the Eat Out to Help Out discount the Government has financed through August.

Pub operator JD Wetherspoon is launching a scheme that will see prices on a range of meals and drinks reduced from Monday to Wednesday until November 11.

The cheaper prices will start on Tuesday.

Pizza Hut, Bill’s and Pizza Pilgrims are among restaurants to say they will continue with the 50 per cent discount next month, despite the state-backed programme coming to an end today.

Bill’s has said it will keep offering the discount through September, while it will also be launching a discounted set menu starting at £10.

Popular chains Toby Carvery and Harvester have also said they will continue the offer through the first two weeks of next month after seeing strong customer numbers.

Q Hotels Group, which runs 21 sites, said it will also extend the scheme, with plans to have reductions on meals until November.

Takeaway delivery giant Deliveroo also announced that it offer customers a discount in September to encourage them to “eat in to help out”, after the subsidy scheme ends next week.

It said would offer £5 off an order of £20 or more during the first three days of each week in September.

The Federation of Small Businesses has become the latest organisation to call on Government ministers to extend the scheme into September after hailing its success in helping a hospitality sector that saw 1.4 million workers furloughed.

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