Operators divided over further discounting after EOTHO


Operators divided over further discounting after EOTHO

Operators divided over further discounting after EOTHO

Now that the hugely successful Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is over, operators are divided on whether further discounting is the way forward.

Discounting to build on current momentum

A large number of pubs and restaurants are continuing a discount scheme similar to EOTHO, whilst covering the costs themselves. A list of venues can be found here.

Restaurateurs who have extended the discount believe it's important to build on the current momentum, and that without further incentives customers may be hesitant to continue dining out. Additionally, some operators, such as Geoff Dower, who runs High Tide Inn in Porthcawl, admit that even though discounting impacts profit, it will allow to keep staff in work over winter.

Some venues are offering discount on even more generous terms than the original EOTHO offer. Sri Lankan restaurant The Coconut Tree, is offering 50% off all food and non-alcoholic drinks from Mondays to Wednesday. The restaurant brand manager, Anna Garrod has said: "Economically it's better without it. But if you asked me whether it's better to keep your doors shut or to offer something as an incentive, it's obvious to do this for sure."

A step towards dangerous discount culture

Others believe that the EOTHO discount did what it was intended to do - it tempted customers out, reminded them what they love about dining out, and reassured them that it is safe to do so.

Moreover, some operators think that any further discounting could result in going back to a discount culture, which the industry struggled with not so long ago. Hawksmoor announced it would not be extending the scheme because "restaurants have to stand on their own two feet with the conviction that their normal prices are the right ones". Firstly, customers need to understand the cost of food and be tempted out by more than a bargain, and secondly, extensive discounting puts pressure on operators with already narrow margins.

Whichever your side, keep track of what's important

Whichever way forward, there's no denying that autumn and winter will be tough for the industry, and so, it is more important than ever to ensure that every guests is delighted every time. This comes down to getting 3 main things right, consistently: safety, service and standards. Listening to customers, quickly rectifying issues as they arise, and integrating feedback into a cycle of continuous improvement will help deliver the brand promise and keep customers coming back.

Software makes it easier to measure the guest experience and standards, and to track guest sentiment across a multitude of different channels. This is something we do here at HGEM, and combined with over 15 years of experience in helping hospitality businesses grow, we are well placed as industry leaders to support them in identifying opportunities and areas for improvement. Find out more about what we do.

To help the industry during this difficult time, we are offering a free trial of our services for the first month, no commitment. Please contact us for more information.

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