The Government has ended its Eat Out to Help Out scheme – and one restaurant owner has been left delighted.
The scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, gave diners discounts from Monday to Wednesday through August.
The scheme was unveiled by Mr Sunak as part of his “mini-budget” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Diners received a state-backed 50% discount on meals and soft drinks up to £10 each between Mondays and Wednesdays in August.
The final day of the scheme, Monday August 31, saw a 216% jump in bookings compared to the equivalent day in 2019, according to initial data from OpenTable.
By the end of Monday, 130,000 claims were made by 84,700 restaurants signed up to the programme, with claims costing around £522 million.
But one restaurant owner says it brought out the worst of her customers, with Rachel Stock, owner of Rotherham eatery On The Rocks S66, telling The Star: “I don’t think my staff ever want to go through it again. We have had a lot of people giving us hell because we can’t give them tables.”
She added: “One person told us we were the biggest ****** joke ever.
“I have a 16-year-old girl who works as a waitress on the floor who was threatened to have her head “knocked down the car park” because we didn’t have one of the ingredients left due to it being a sell out day .”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak hailed the programme as a “success”.
He said: “From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before.
“I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery.
“The scheme is just one part of our plan for jobs and we will continue to protect, support and create jobs to ensure we come back stronger as a nation.”