Eastbourne businesses flourish with Eat Out to Help Out: ‘It’s the new weekend!’
Eastbourne businesses have already noticed the difference the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is making.
The 50 per cent off deal began on Monday (August 3) and will continue to run on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays until the end of the month.
It includes food and non-alcoholic drinks to a maximum of £10 per customer, in a government bid to encourage people to spend money following months of lockdown.
“Tuesdays and Wednesdays are becoming the new weekend!” said Vicky Athanasiadis, who runs Gr/Eat in Terminus Road with her husband Vasilis.
“It’s super busy, everyone is eager to get out. This Tuesday and Wednesday have been fully booked since a couple of weeks ago.”
Vicky said the sudden increase in business has been wonderful after months of closure. “It’s been very tough,” she said.
Their covid safety measures include disinfectant stations inside the restaurant, and they have taken out five tables to make social distancing easier.
Toilets are disinfected every hour and door handles every 15 minutes, while tables and chairs are after every use.
Vicky said, “We have a responsibility to protect Eastbourne. A local lockdown would destroy us, so being more cautious is the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, 4 Seasons at Sovereign Harbour says staff are rushed off their feet and are walking around 32,000 steps a day.
When asked if they have noticed a difference since Eat Out to Help Out began, worker Sam Evans said, “Oh my goodness yes absolutely!
“We’ve been full consistently, I think the whole harbour has.
“Lots of customers have commented that it’s been their first time out in a restaurant and it has been so lovely!”
Sam said she was really happy to see people take advantage of the scheme, which she says means it’s cheaper to eat out than at home in some cases.
She said, “It’s made a difference and hopefully with all the covid procedures in place has enabled customers to feel more confident to eat out.”
The Art House cafe in Grove Road has been open for much of lockdown, serving its artisanal food for takeaway.
Now customers can dine in, but boss Lucy Hancock says they are only operating four to five tables inside to stick with the two metre social distancing rules.
She said, “It’s made a huge difference to us. The diary is looking healthy again.”
But Qualisea in Terminus Road says it has been busy ever since it reopened when restrictions eased last month.
A spokesperson for the fish and chips restaurant said, “We have noticed a slight increase, nothing crazy but definitely a bit busier.
“We have been quite busy since lockdown ended anyway to be honest. Terminus Road in general is definitely busier.
“Because fish and chips is already very affordable we don’t anticipate it to make a massive increase.
“Another surprising aspect is that a lot of the customers we are serving are not fully aware of the discount, so quite a few of our customers are having a nice surprise with a 50 per cent discount on their bill.”
Julio Crivellano, chef and owner at Dom Restaurant, in Grove Road, said the new scheme has been ‘fantastic’ so far for his business.
He said, “Customers are happy paying half price. It is fantastic.
“The last two days have been so good. We have been busy. People have come in and spent lots of money.”
Seaside Cafe owners Eileen and Rico Chandler said it has been nice to be able to give something back to customers by charging half price.
They said, “It’s nice the regulars have benefitted from it. They are all quite shocked really. They really appreciate it.”
Overall, the owners said, the scheme is a good idea and they are ‘lucky’ their business is just as busy now as it was before the lockdown.
A spokesperson from The Dewdrop Inn, in South Street, said the scheme has been great for the company and the customers.
They said, “It’s a good opportunity to show visitors how we can look after them safely and build confidence, whilst offering them a welcome discount to eat out. “We are grateful for the government’s help we have received so far. We are hoping the recovery continues and for the economy to bounce back quickly.”