11 August 2020

Starter, Retail, Dessert

By Izzy Cardy

I have a plethora of memories from childhood of happy days spent shopping with my mum and two sisters, whilst my dad sat in a pub, or a restaurant, passing the time with a couple of drinks.

We’d meet either halfway through, or at the end of our retail therapy to enjoy a meal together. This is a tradition that has continued for nearly thirty or so years for us. Shopping is not just ‘shopping’, it’s a day out, it’s family time, it’s catch ups with friends over some good food, it’s creating memories. Shopping and eating out go hand in hand, be it a 3-course meal after a day of perusing the shops, a light lunch during a quick shopping trip, or a brunch with a mimosa or two before you start!

Due to the current situation we all know that retail and the F&B industry have been hit hard, which is where Chancellor Rishi Sunak has come in to help reignite the industry with the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme. The scheme, running Mondays to Wednesdays from 3rd - 31st August, offers diners a 50% discount up to the value of £10 per head on food and non-alcoholic drinks at participating restaurants, cafes and pubs across the UK.

This creates an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on. With more people venturing out to take advantage of the new scheme, there is a fantastic opportunity to drive more footfall to the highstreets and shopping centres. Consumers who have been locked down for months on end, and growing consumer confidence means we potentially have a winning combination on our hands. 

Consumers are naturally still feeling cautious, but given the right atmosphere and safety measures, will hopefully start to feel more at ease to get back out there for a bite to eat, and whilst they are there – why not quickly pop into the shops and see what is on offer?

Destinations, whether shopping centres or high streets can therefore push their F&B offers this month and use them to drive footfall into their schemes. Although officially this scheme is running on Mondays through to Wednesdays, we have seen some restaurants, such as Hard Rock Café, extending the deal to Thursday and Friday and we may see other restaurants following suit. 

Even though this scheme is due to end at the end of August, it will hopefully leave a long-lasting taste in consumers’ mouths, giving us all the confidence that it can be done – we can still shop and eat safely during these times. We can still create memories and moments, keeping our bricks and mortar retail alive, as well as our restaurants.

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