Acuity’s Essential 10 Point Guide to the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Acuity’s Essential 10 Point Guide to the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Key Contact: Adam McGlynn

Acuity Law work with a number of clients in the food and beverage industry. Following the announcement of the eat out to help out scheme, we have created this guide to help you navigate the scheme from how to register to requesting claims.

1. Announcement
On 8 July 2020 Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the establishment of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme (the Scheme) as part of his ‘Plan for Jobs’ speech. The next day gov.uk published a HM Treasury direction to HMRC, made under sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which contained more specific instructions on the Scheme’s framework.

2. Purpose
The Scheme is designed to provide a discount to customers dining at qualifying restaurants (the Discount) to support financial recovery following the economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and protect employees who might otherwise face redundancy.

3. Eligibility
A ‘Qualifying Restaurant’ will be eligible under the Scheme if it has been registered with the local authority as the location of a food business since 7 July 2020. This includes restaurants, cafés, canteens, public houses, dining rooms, and similar venues which sell food for immediate consumption at a dining area on the restaurant’s premises. The owner of the Qualifying Restaurant (the Qualifying Person) will be eligible to register to the Scheme.

4. “A dining area on the restaurant’s premises”
Apart from the obvious assumptions of being a place to eat owned by the business, the guidance places importance on two crucial elements when evaluating whether this criterion is satisfied: Permanence and Primary Purpose. The dining area must be a permanent feature of the business which can include al fresco seating and shared food courts provided the seating arrangements are not merely temporary. The dining area must also be primarily for the purpose of dining and, therefore, separate from, and not merely incidental to, the other services provided by the business.

5. Excluded Businesses
Following the logic of paragraphs 3 and 4 above, Government guidance excludes the following businesses:
• Businesses that only offer takeaway;
• Businesses that only cater for private functions;
• Businesses that only provide room service;
• Mobile businesses such as mobile food vans and trailers; and
• Businesses that only provide supplementary dining services.

6. Registration
A Qualifying Person may register their Qualifying Restaurant with the Scheme through the Government Gateway at anytime on or before 31 August 2020 using the following details:
• Government Gateway ID and password;
• The name and address of each establishment;
• The business’ bank account number, sort code, and registered address;
• VAT registration number, if applicable;
• Employer PAYE scheme reference number, if applicable; and
• Corporation Tax or Self-Assessment Unique taxpayer reference.

7. Qualifying Sales
The Discount will be applied to sales of food and non-alcoholic drinks which are sold for immediate consumption at a dining area on the restaurant’s premises every Monday to Wednesday in August 2020. Following the logic of paragraphs 3 – 5 above this will exclude sales such as takeaways, private party functions, and food which is incidental to another business, such as food provided with flights or accommodation.

8. Calculating the Discount
The Discount offered to customers is 50% off of the price of the Qualifying Sale after the deduction of (1) any other discount the business offers and (2) any service charge payable. The Discount is capped at £10 per diner (being a person who participates in eating and/or drinking) but the Discount can be applied to the overall bill.

9. Claims
Claims can be made on a weekly basis from 7 August until 30 September 2020 but Qualifying Persons will have to wait 7 days after registration before making their first claim. HMRC payments will be made within 5 working days from claim submission and will be treated as taxable income. The business will need to track and record:
• The total number of customers who have used the scheme;
• The total value of transactions; and
• The total amount of discounts given.

10. Promotion
Promotional posters and a ‘table talker’ are available from gov.uk to help businesses promote their participating with the Scheme but branded promotions are also encouraged.

For more information or advice regarding the scheme and how we could help you, please contact adam.mcglynn@acuitylaw.com

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