“Monday is the new Thursday” – Brakes CEO Mahoney

Brakes CEO Hugo Mahoney has joined a growing number of hospitality figures to call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Mahoney says Brakes’ customers have witnessed a surge in consumers coming through the doors of pubs and restaurants during the month-long government scheme, with that trend replicated across most of the sector.

But despite the success that’s triggered Brakes to register an increase of more than 150% on Sunday-t0-Monday orders compared to the end of lockdown, Mahoney warns businesses may still an extra push to continue in that direction.

“It seems that Monday has become the new Thursday for the hospitality sector and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a real shot in the arm for many beleaguered businesses,” said Mahoney.

“It looks like this could be one of the economic success stories of the government’s efforts to get businesses back on their feet after the pandemic.

“However, while fantastic, we urge the chancellor to extend the scheme into September as the sector continues to recover. We have been helped by good weather, but as schools go back and the sun disappears, we need to maintain the momentum – and extending the scheme could really help.”

HM Treasury figures show more than 85,000 outlets have signed up to the innovative scheme, with consumers cashing in by claiming more than 35 million discounted meals, with Brakes saying some customers that didn’t initially reopen early in the week being encouraged to do so.

Brakes has further supported their customers by offering a Get Back to Business package, which includes product, financial and operation support mechanisms, and have maintained strong availability to keep up with demand.

But while things are rosier than they were, Mahoney warns it could all be a false dawn if the next phase of the crisis isn’t handled in the right way and support initiatives begin to wind down.

“While there are undoubtedly some great success stories across the country, there is no doubt that many operators continue to struggle,” he continued.

“We are grateful to the chancellor for what he’s done so far, but unfortunately, more still needs to be done. We hope HM Treasury is considering extending both the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the VAT cut for hospitality businesses, currently set to expire in January 2021.

“Additionally, we have seen what a lifeline to hospitality businesses the government’s Job Retention Scheme proved to be. As the scheme tapers down it will create new cashflow difficulties, making it increasingly difficult for hospitality businesses to retain their talented staff. In a sector representing 10% of UK employment and 5% of UK GDP, it is imperative hospitality businesses continue to receive help to get back on their feet after the unique way they’ve been impacted by the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The hospitality industry holds a unique place in the hearts of British consumers, but the support we’ve seen must extend beyond the summer. Otherwise even more businesses will be at risk.”

Brakes Eat Out to Help Out Foodservice Government hospitality Hugo Mahoney Rishi Sunak wholesaler