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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 31st Aug 2020 - JD Wetherspoon launches own reduced prices scheme as Eat Out To Help Out ends
JD Wetherspoon launches own reduced prices scheme as Eat Out To Help Out ends: JD Wetherspoon is launching its “Stay Out To Help Out” scheme from tomorrow (Tuesday, 1 September). It follows on from the success of the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme. The Wetherspoon initiative will see prices on a range of meals and drinks reduced between Monday and Wednesday until Wednesday, 11 November at Wetherspoon pubs in the UK. Wetherspoon claimed its prices on some of the meals and drinks will be cheaper than those available in McDonald’s or Domino’s Pizza. The meals on offer include an 11-inch margherita pizza with soft drink for £3.99 and a classic six-ounce beef burger (with chips) and soft drink for £3.99. A traditional breakfast (fried egg, two rashers of bacon, two hash browns, baked beans, sausage, tomato and toast) will cost £2.99 and a small breakfast £2.49. The pubs will also be offering three small plates for £7.50 as well as desserts at £1.99 and mini desserts at 99p.There will be a choice of 21 small plates in the three for £7.50 deal, including nachos, halloumi fries, chicken wings and nine varieties of pizza (eight-inch). Coffee or tea (with free refills) will be available for 99p, and all draft soft drinks, plus 20 other canned and bottled soft drinks will cost 99p. Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “The government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme was extremely popular with our customers and a great boost to the hospitality industry. We are keen to offer our customers a superb choice of food and drink at great value for money prices. Our offer means that a classic beef burger in our pubs will be even better value than McDonald’s. The classic burger in Wetherspoon is £3.99 versus McDonald’s Big Mac medium meal (comprising Big Mac two 1.6-ounce beef patties, medium fries, medium Coca-Cola zero sugar), which costs £4.59. In addition cappuccino in our pubs will be 50p cheaper than McDonald’s and our customers can have free refills too. The 11-inch margherita pizza and soft drink is £3.99 at Wetherspoon versus Domino’s Pizza two topping 11.5-inch pizza deal (no drink) at £5.99.”

Goodbody – Eat Out To Help Out as been ‘undoubted success’, food sales up 15% year-on-year: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has argued the Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been an “undoubted success”, with food sales up 15% year-on-year last week. Ruddy said: “CGA issued an interesting summary of the impact of Eat Out To Help Out on Friday afternoon (28 August). The consultants noted weekly food sales were down 9% year-on-year in week one of the scheme, up 3% in week two year-on-year and an impressive 15% year-on-year in week three. Sales increased by 94% on 17 August, 86% on 18 August and 76% on 19 August. The data also indicates although Thursday through Sunday was still considerably down year-on-year, the trends improved weekly. CGA also highlighted its drinks recovery tracker noting drink sales by value in the seven days to 22 August were down 23% year-on-year having been 16% the previous week. CGA noted Eat Out To Help Out continues to benefit the soft drinks market, where year-on-year sales were down just 2% over the week. The lower temperatures contributed to 24% and 32% drops in beer and cider sales respectively. But with more people eating out, wine had its best week since the on-trade started to reopen in early July, with sales down 18% year-on-year. Eat Out To Help Out has been an undoubted success in getting people back to restaurants with 64 million people availing of the scheme in August and may have given many operators a badly needed cash lifeline. The FT and The Guardian both noted over the weekend there are issues to be considered including staff fatigue and long waits for meals. Furthermore, as the CGA beverage tracker highlights, those diners substituting a Friday night out for a Wednesday may not order a bottle of wine. With today (Monday, 31 August) being the last day of the scheme, there looks to be no prospect of the Treasury extending, but a few operators have said they will run a similar version in September as a discount scheme. The restaurant sector is far from in the clear with a challenging autumn and winter in store, particularly when the furlough pay scheme ends. However, the short term benefits of the scheme should not be ignored particularly given it shows consumers are still willing to head out to enjoy a meal.”

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