THE Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August was a success story for restaurants and pubs all across the region but figures released by the Government revealed the Bradford West constituency had a particularly high take up.

The government-subsidised scheme offered half-price meals and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August to encourage people to eat out again.

According to the figures up to August 27, nearly 57,000 restaurants across England registered with the scheme, claiming over 51 million meals and claiming £295,000,000 of the discount. The average discount per meal was £5.76.

Of the five Bradford constituencies, Bradford West had by far the largest take up of the scheme. With 164 eating establishments registered, a total of 223,000 meals were claimed and £1,418,000 was the total discount claimed. The average discount per meal was £6.37.

Restaurants and pubs in the Keighley constituency came second with 126 taking part, 155,000 meals claimed and £921,000 of discount claimed. The average discount per meal £5.94.

Bradford East, Shipley and Bradford South came next with 126, 74, and 37 establishments registered, 155,000, 129,000 and 44,000 meals claimed and £921,000, £865,000 and £250,000 of discount claimed. The average discount per meal in those constituencies was £5.90, £6.72 and £5.71.

Restaurants in the city centre have spoken out about how successful Eat Out to Help Out was for their businesses.

"It was very successful and an absolutely fantastic scheme," said Saleem Akhtar, CEO of the Jinnah Restaurant, on Hall Ings. "I'd like to thank (Chancellor of the Exchequer) Rishi Sunak for thinking about us.

"It gave us a lift up after all the losses we incurred the 16 weeks we were closed because of lockdown.

"It was a fantastic idea for businesses and it got the community out as well."

Mr Akhtar said that sales in August were up 300 to 400 per cent and that despite the queues, customers understood and were prepared to wait. During the scheme, Jinnah did not take bookings but let customers come in on a first come first served basis.

"The month of August was a record for us," said Mr Akhtar. "The Government hit the nail on the head with this scheme. It got the public out and was good thing for their mental health.

"If there is another spike in COVID-19 cases and we have go into lockdown again, the Government should offer Eat Out to Help Out again."

Ishfaq Farooq, director of MyLahore Flagship, on Great Horton Road, said: "Eat Out to Help Out was brilliant for us financially. It increased our sales by 45 per cent and it was great to see people come out again and save money on a meal.

"It presented a lot of challenges for us as sometimes the queues were four hours long, so we provided tea and drinks for those who were waiting.

"We also had to change the layout of the restaurant and carry out a detailed COVID-19 risk assessment, but overall it was great scheme that gave the hospitality industry a big boost."

"It was a success," said Ahmed Pesai, manager of the Peri Fusion on Great Horton Road. "Overall, on the days of the offer we had a 50 per cent increase in sales.

In an effort to keep up the success, Peri Fusion will run a similar promotion to the Eat Out to Help Out by offering a 50 per cent discount on all eat in and take out orders on Mondays and Wednesdays to the end of September.

Emma Franklin, manager of Zizzi on Charles Street, said: "It was good for us. We had a lot of people take advantage of it, so we were busy from Mondays to Wednesday instead of at the weekend like we normally are."