Restaurants, cafes and bars have taken in more than £ 849 million in a month from the government “Eat Out to Help” The chart, where diners bought more than 160 million discounted meals in August.
More than 49,000 companies filed for government support by the end of September, according to official HMRC numbers.
The scheme, designed to attract diners to hospitality venues during the summer to support the sector, It proved extremely popular with consumers.
The initiative offered a half-price discount of up to a maximum of £ 10 per person on food and non-alcoholic beverages Monday through Wednesday in August. Diners received an average discount of £ 5.24 on a meal, according to the numbers.
The scheme was such a great success that many restaurants requested the chancellor to extend it. As a result of its popularity, The scheme cost the Treasury more than two-thirds more than the £ 500 million Rishi Sunak allocated to it in the July mini-budget.
System usage increased steadily throughout August, with the number of reduced meals and the total value of claims increasing each week.
A study from the University of Warwick suggested eating out to help could be It directly caused a sixth of the clusters of novel coronavirus cases Over the summer, the Treasury rejected the allegation.
Official figures showed that more than half of the claims (55%) were filed by restaurants, while less than a third (28%) were filed by bars.
More than nine out of 10 claims were filed by companies with only one co-outlet, even though these places only claimed half of the total discount (52%), meaning the chains received greater amounts of money from the government.
HMRC said 172 large companies, with a total of more than 18,000 outlets, participated in the initiative, representing nearly a quarter of the participating sites.
The numbers showed that less than 1% of claims were filed by companies with more than 25 outlets, even though these companies account for a third of the meals claimed, and a quarter of the total discount claimed.