The government eat out to help out (EOTHO) scheme is proving a hit particularly with older diners and is giving the sector a much-needed boost.
In a recent survey by guest experience managing company HGEM they asked a panel of over 500 mystery diners their opinion of the EOTHO scheme, and, unsurprisingly 67% loved it, with Millennials being the biggest fans; 29% had a neutral position, and only 4% didn’t see any value in it, the latter being mostly in the 66+ age group.
60% of the participants had already dined out 1-5 times so far this month, and nearly a quarter had eaten out 5-10 times in less than 3 weeks. 4% of participants had dined out over 10 times, with similar enthusiasm from all ages between 18 and 46. The results show that caution towards dining out increases with age: 7% of Gen-Z are still not venturing out at all, and that percentage increases to 24% in the 66+ age group.
HGEM also asked our mystery diners whether their eating out habits will change once the EOTHO scheme finishes revealing:
- 47% will be dining out roughly as much as they are now
- 41% believe they will be dining out less than now
- 12% are intending to dine out more than they are now
The good news is that three out out of five people intend to dine out as much as they do now, or more – which shows a lot of promise in maintaining a good level of footfall in establishments in the upcoming months, especially considering the large number of visits in August. This will come as a sigh of relief to many hospitality operators, who were perhaps dreading for a more dramatic decrease in visits.
The results of the survey also show that Gen-Z are most swayed by the discount, with half the respondents intending to eat out less after the scheme ends. People aged 26-55 all share a similar sentiment as 55% are intending to eat out as much as now, or more. However, that percentage increases to 73% in the 56-65, and to 81% in the 66+ age groups. Views did not differ significantly between men and women. When it comes to the 41% who intend to dine out less after the EOTHO scheme ends, from our previous surveys we’ve learnt that it doesn’t take much to tempt out hesitant consumers – all they need is a reason.
HGEM’s MD, Steven Pike, said: “The results of the survey hopefully alleviate some of the worries many hospitality operators have. There will be a decline in footfall in the upcoming months, no doubt, but we can also see that EOTHO has had a positive and lasting effect on consumer confidence, and it’s unlikely that visits will drop to pre-EOTHO levels. The age profiles may signal to marketers where the greatest opportunities lie for conversion.”