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Meal deals a real breadwinner

  • Date: Monday 31st August 2020
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Today officially marks the end of the triumphant ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme launched by the UK Government, to coax people out of lockdown and start spending again. Has it had the desired effect for the hospitality industry? You bet it has!


Like so many of us, I have been lured in by the thought if a half price meal with the family. It is amazing that just £10 can make such a considerable difference to the bill – and with a lot less washing up to do – it’s a no brainer to kick off the working week in style.


Looking back, HM Treasury revealed that more than 64 million meals were eaten in the first three weeks of the initiative, with the final figure expected to exceed 80million. People have come out in their millions to book a slot at their favourite eating place to enjoy a cut price experience, with many of those restaurants turning away customers due to being at capacity each and every night the initiative has run.


Part of the campaign’s success was thanks to the number of restaurants who embraced the scheme and signed up, meaning we could eat out at our favourite places and still enjoy the substantial discounts.


From the Buzzworks restaurants such as Scotts in Troon and South Queensferry, to The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and the DiMaggio’s restaurant chain across the country – these were amongst more than 32,000 outlets taking part across Scotland and the UK.


The Federation of Small Businesses were amongst many organisations to call for the scheme to be extended into September after hailing it a roaring success. Despite the Chancellor confirming it would not be extended – business after business have announced that they will continue to offer the discount into the next four weeks – testament to the positive effect it has had on their recovery.


It has been incredibly encouraging to see so many rebuild their confidence and venture out to eating places and get back to enjoying an experience that we had very much taken for granted before all of this.


To see restaurants full to the brim and people raving about their discount meals is just the boost the industry needed after such a challenging time.


Many have asked if giving people discounted meals was really the best use of public money following a global pandemic. I certainly see merit in an argument that promotes the idea that it has been exactly what was needed to kick start out economy and get our country spending again.


By filling up the restaurants on the traditionally quieter days of their business week, we are directly supporting the hundreds and thousands of people who work in the industry. From the chefs, to the front of house staff, cleaners, and kitchen porters – each and every one of them will see the benefit.


And the ripple effect of its success means the livelihoods of the supporting industries have also been bolstered from farmers, fisherman, cheesemakers, drinks suppliers, accountants etc. It drives such a large chain that so many sections of our business world have enjoyed a slice of the pie.


The last few months has been an incredibly difficult time for the hospitality sector both during lockdown and emerging from it. The industry is massive and is worth more than £20 billion a year to the UK economy – so it has been great to see that so many have embraced the opportunity to help get it back on to its feet.


So, what now? Will that boost in confidence, that surge in business and our appetite for eating out disappear along with the discount? Or has the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme done enough to give us all the kick start we needed to be confident about going out for a meal again and be reassured businesses are doing all they can to keep us safe whilst we are tucking in?


With so many of our favourite restaurants keeping the discounts going on off their own back and a renewed appetite for that dining out experience – I, for one, will be continuing to support my preferred dining venues and will never take for granted again the sheer delight that comes with being served my favourite dish.


Side 315

Back in June when estate agents reopened and resumed services, many predicted a boom for the property market based on their long waiting lists - and it seems they weren’t wrong.


Coastal locations and properties with a garden and home office space have proved to be the most sought after, typically selling for 10 per cent above the home report value in some locations.


It’s not surprising, especially for homebuyers who have spent lockdown indoors with no local green space to enjoy. With home working also set to continue indefinitely for many, working from the sofa isn’t sustainable for much longer, so home office space is undoubtedly in demand.


The housing market is also moving at a rapid speed, with properties selling within one week of being listed, or in some instances even on the same day.


It would seem that Scotland’s properties are attracting more than just locals too, with considerable interest in homes located within the Highlands and Islands from buyers in England and even Hong Kong.


Experts have suggested that the levels of high interest and quick sales we are currently experiencing is due to pent up demand from lockdown, meaning it would be likely to level out eventually. However, according to property group Zoopla, that’s just not the case.


Zoopla’s monthly city house price index has shown little sign of momentum waning within the market. In fact, it predicts that house prices will end the year two to three per cent higher than last year - despite the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.


The index also reported that the level of forced sellers was low and many buyers indicted high prosperity – so combined with low house price inflation in recent years, it is unlikely prices will fall significantly.


Great news for a seller, but not so rosy for a buyer - especially if you are young and in potentially unsecure employment.


Laugh 135

The battle lines have been drawn, white vs orange, made from cows vs made from girders, Graham’s Dairy vs Barr Irn Bru.

According to Kantar’s Brand Footprint metrics, Graham’s The Family Dairy has overtaken Barr’s Irn Bru to be named Scotland’s number one food brand for the first time.

Kantar’s metric ranks businesses according to which products are chosen off the shelf most often and by the most shoppers.

The Managing Director at Graham’s is hailing its success due to the popularity of home baking over lockdown with its sales of butter doubling alone during recent months. That, and the fact company chairman Robert Graham Snr was warned to stop buying Irn Bru.

I’m sure Barr won’t take this defeat lightly, so I’ll await a clever ad campaign from Irn Bru as a strong comeback.

Weep 131

With unemployment rates rising, competition for available vacancies is high. CV Library have just citied that their average of 25 applications per vacancy has skyrocketed to over 4,000 for some advertised entry-level positions.

It is a frightening reality, however what makes it all the more upsetting is to hear about fraudsters taking advantage of desperate job seekers. An influx of fake job adverts have been posted online meaning people are pouring over an application for a job that simply isn’t available.

Some fake vacancies have also been reported on LinkedIn where, at video call interview stage, payment is requested to process applications. A complete scam.

More than ever you need to be safe online, and it’s always worth remembering, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

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