The Government’s “Eat Out Help Out” scheme has proved deliciously tempting to diners across Sunderland.
And happy restaurant owners have reported an overwhelming response to the deals, which allow people to dine with a 50 per cent discount on Mondays to Wednesday, with the Government making up the difference.
Andy Golding, operations director at city bars including Ttonic and Chaplins, said the initiative was proving a real success.
“Things are looking really vibrant on the high street and this seems to be really giving people the incentive to dine out,” he said.
“We can see an uplift in footfall and we’ve had lots of enquiries about the food we offer, which in itself is fabulous.
“Social distancing and table service have been very well received so things are a lot more positive.”
Ian Wong, who runs Asiana Fusion restaurant at the Echo 24 building said he is completely booked up on the special offer nights through August.
“This has been super popular and we are booked up every single night that the offer is available, which is great news.
“Our only hope now is that it’s not too difficult a process to get the money back from the Government.”
Port of Call at Park Lane is also seeing a continuous stream of customers.
“We have been busy since we opened the doors again four weeks ago,” said owner, John Dickman.
“But since the Eat Out Help Out scheme launched it has been completely manic, with people happy to wait for as long as an hour to get a table.
“It’s a fantastic scheme.”
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, said the scheme was helping the city centre restaurants get back on their feet.
“It’s brilliant news not only that some many cafes, bars and restaurants signed up but that they are having such an incredible response,” she said.
“It is giving the hospitality industry a much-needed boost and also hopefully the incentive for people to try somewhere they may not have been before.
“We hope that everyone that is dining out in August under this scheme will also remember to continue to support our fantastic restaurant scene in the future, as it such a vital part of our city-centre economy.”