Restaurant Association Presents Dine Out to Help Out

The Restaurant Association has presented its petition calling on the Government to adopt a scheme similar to the UK’s “Eat Out to Help Out” initiative, to assist the battling hospitality industry which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The contactless delivery of the petition was delivered to Rt Hon Kris Faafoi by Restaurant Association President Mike Egan and Vice President Steve Logan on the steps of parliament along with a takeaway lunch from Monsoon Poon.

Rt Hon Todd McClay also came out to meet with Egan and Brown to hear about the petition and the challenges the industry is facing.

The petition calls on the House of Representatives to urge the Government to provide targeted support for the hospitality industry through a home-grown version of the initiative that the Association has dubbed Dine Out to Help Out, gathered just short of 3500 signatures in the five days it was live.

“To date there has been no targeted support for the industry through the pandemic to date, despite us being one of the worst affected,” said Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

“Hospitality operators continue to be impacted by alert level changes, border closures and consumer uncertainty. A scheme similar to the UK’s is needed in New Zealand and the number of signatures gathered shows the appetite for a scheme like this among businesses owners and diners alike.”

Under the UK scheme, the Government foots the bill for 50 percent of a meal eaten at a cafe, restaurant or pub from Monday to Wednesday until the end of August. It sees a maximum saving of £10 per person applied to meals at more than 70,000 venues and was used more than 10.5 million times in its first week.

“Our Dine Out to Help Out initiative will put much needed cash back into the pockets of hospitality businesses that are really struggling whilst also helping Kiwis to get a freshly prepared meal at a discounted price.”

If adopted, the Dine out to Help out initiative will run in a similar fashion to its UK equivalent across in-house dining at appropriate alert levels. The discount will not apply to alcohol, only food.

“The impact of the pandemic on our industry has been devastating and a lot of our members are at their wits end. Everyone is trying to hang in there, we’ve already seen closures and there will be more to come if we don’t do something to inject some money into the sector,” commented Mike Egan, National President of the Restaurant Association and owner of Monsoon Poon.

“Rather than just asking for a handout this is a great way of putting money into our customers hands to encourage them to dine out again. Uptake in the UK has been phenomenal and if we experienced the same level of success here, the result would be a huge boom for our industry.”

A recent survey conducted by the Restaurant Association found that of those businesses able to remain open at alert level 3, 87 percent were reporting revenues significantly lower than the same period last year. For those at alert level 2, that figure was 49 percent with a further 29 percent reporting lower year on year revenues. 12 percent of businesses are anticipating closing their businesses for good in the next 30 days.

“Our industry has been battling for months now, with thousands of jobs lost and businesses looking to close their doors for good. This country has an incredible hospitality scene and if we want it to survive the pandemic’s ongoing impact, the Government needs to do something different,” concluded Bidois.

“We have a membership of 2500 establishments alone to support this scheme and we’re ready and able to work with the government and its associated agencies to roll this out here.”