Sector: Hospitality 

Topic: Coronavirus 

Eat out to help out scheme

By Richard Staunton

10 Jul 2020

The Chancellor announced a voucher scheme, which will come into effect on 3 August until the 31 August. The 'eat out to help out' voucher scheme will enable businesses who have applied and registered to accept a discount of £10 per person for meals consumed on the premises. This will exclude alcohol and does not apply to food taken away.

As with all of these things, the scheme comes with several rules. The main ones being:

  • The voucher can only be used in August
  • The discount only applies Monday to Wednesday
  • The business must have applied to HMRC for approval

The voucher will work like any other face value voucher, which means that it will be treated as part payment, and VAT will be due on the entire value of the meal, with the voucher effectively treated as a cash receipt. VAT has been reduced to 5% on meals in restaurants already, which means that there will need to be systems in place to calculate what may be two different rates of VAT for eat in. These being food and alcohol, which will need to be identified to ensure that the voucher is only used for food. 

Take away food is not included, and care must be taken where there is a seating area nearby the premises to ensure that this qualifies as 'eat in'.

HMRC do list definitions of premises that can apply and worked examples. HMRC has published two notices; the first being a guide and the second, details on how to register. View these below:

Any scheme that helps the restaurant trade to recover from the ravages of lock down must be welcomed. This scheme does appear quite complicated, has limited scope and duration and businesses must register before using it. However, it will hopefully provide a boost to trade and reacquaint us with the joys of eating out.  

For further advice or information, contact Richard Staunton at

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