Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme prompted a 14% increase in restaurant transactions during its first week, according to fintech firm Yolt.

The government scheme gives consumers a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks at participating eateries from Monday to Wednesday. It is designed to provide a boost to the hospitality sector, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders.

Restaurant owners have reported surges in bookings since Eat Out To Help Out started on the 3 August. Will Beckett, co-founder of steakhouse chain Hawksmoor, told the BBC that six of his restaurants had received a combined 15,000 booking throughout August.

Data from restaurant booking website OpenTable shows a similar trend as Yolt, with reservations up 10% on 3 August, compared with the same day in 2019.

However, the 14% increase measured by Yolt was dwarfed by the previous month of July, when the government first lifted lockdown measures for bars and restaurants. Compared with April – the height of the pandemic – restaurant transactions were up by 127% in July.

Stay-at-home restrictions have seen many consumers grow their savings during lockdown. Yolt, which leverages open banking for its money management app, observed a 10% increase in the number of savings contributions in July compared to June. Compared with pre-lockdown in February, Yolt users are saving 36% more regularly.

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Pauline van Brakel, chief product officer at Yolt, said: “It is great to see people taking advantage of the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme and taking the right steps towards smart spending. It is also encouraging to see that even with the temptation to spend more now, people are still remaining consistent with their efforts to save and they are seemingly trying to continue that habit going forward, particularly as we face economic uncertainty in light of Covid-19.

“We want to empower users to be smart with their money, to help them find a new way of balancing spending and saving, and to turn their good financial intentions into action in the most effortless way possible.”

He added that Yolt was testing a “new iteration” of its app to “do just that”.

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