SOME pubs and restaurants have extended the “eat out to help out” scheme at their own expense after the Government-backed initiative ended on August 31.
It ran from Mondays to Wednesdays from August 7, and figures up to August 27 show that 104,000 discounted meals were claimed in Gower.
The figures for Swansea West and Swansea East were 80,000 and 29,000 meals, respectively.
The UK-wide promotion to give the coronavirus-battered hospitality sector a boost gave people up to 50% off when eating in participating venues, with a maximum discount of £10 per person.
The discount was then claimed back from the Government.
The total number of meals claimed for in Wales was just over 2.3 million, although the final tally will be published next month.
Cllr Lyndon Jones, leader of Swansea Conservatives, said the scheme had been a big success.
“It has really kick-started the hospitality industry in Swansea, helped retain jobs and was clearly a great initiative by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak,” he said.
Rhianne Schofield, manager of The Bridgend Inn, Birchgrove, said of the initiative: “It went very well – better than expected.
“It was good to get people in, and we could have been booked four times over each day.”
The pub is offering customers 25% off their main meal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during September – the venue is closed on Mondays – at its own expense.
“It’s keeping numbers ticking along, and there’s a bit more interest midweek,” said Rhianne.
Lara Joslin, manager of King’s Head Inn, Llangennith, said Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays last month were “crazy”.
“It was really busy and really helpful,” she said.
August is normally a busy month for the Gower venue, and Lara said it was tricky at times to ensure there were enough options on the menu.
The pub is still offering a discount to local customers who supported it when it reopened for takeaways during the lockdown.
Lara said they did consider extending the 50% off the initiative in full.
“But it wasn’t viable to give that much discount and fund it ourselves,” she said.
A member of staff at Italian restaurant Dario’s, Sketty, said the scheme didn’t have a huge impact as it could only fit in 10 diners with social distancing.
It may introduce some sort of discount later in the autumn.
The River House, SA1, is funding an extension of the eat out to help out the scheme on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“People were enjoying it, and we would rather extend it and make people happy,” said a member of staff.
The cost to the Government of the UK scheme, up to August 27, was more than £360 million.
Several fast-food chains took part, and there has been criticism from anti-obesity campaigners. Ahead of the scheme’s launch, the National Obesity Forum said it would be a “green light to promote junk food”.