Eat Out to Help Out makes us want more for free | Lou Hannan

Cast your mind back to the days of getting a tenner off your food bill when you ate at a restaurant or bar.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 10:00 am
People eating on tables placed outside a restautant in Chinatown in Soho, London, as the government initiative Eat Out to Help Out comes to an end. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday August 31, 2020. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Eat Out to Help Out proved massively popular across the country and there have been calls for it to be extended or at least return in a few months’ time.

Lots of people said they took full advantage of it, in some cases eating out three times a week during August. Whereas others said they tried but just couldn’t get a booking where they wanted to.

I’ve been lucky in that my hours presenting a breakfast radio show allow me to have afternoons free and so I dined out on Rishi three times.

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There was something slightly surreal about going to a pub, ordering two plates of scampi and chips and a couple of drinks and the bill coming to less than £8.

Myself and the team went out for breakfast one morning and the full English I ordered came to less than £2 (you can probably guess which ‘budget’ pub chain we dined at…)

It’s been great hearing listeners’ stories about their Eat Out to Help Out experiences.

One particularly amusing one came from a man who took his wife out to a high-end restaurant for their wedding anniversary – they ordered like a King and Queen, only to find when the bill arrived that the restaurant wasn’t actually participating in the scheme.

The funniest encounter came from a member of the team who took his girlfriend out for pizza, only when one of the meals arrived, they found a blue elastic band lurking beneath the mozzarella.

A slight disagreement occurred as he felt too embarrassed to mention it to the staff as they were already getting a massive reduction on the price of the food. However, undeterred, his girlfriend complained to the manager and asked for the meal to be completely free… and they got it!

While I completely understand the need to draw attention to a problem like this as it could have caused all sorts of issues, it did create a bit of a moral dilemma which our listeners got involved with about whether they should have asked for the meal for free given the heavy discount.

The result? 100 per cent of people who called us said: ‘Yes, get it for free!’