The UK Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative, unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in early July launched this week, on Monday 3rd August. This initiative is designed to get diners back into pubs and restaurants following lockdown restrictions, diners can receive a 50% off their meal – up to £10 per person, if they dine in at a participating venue anytime throughout August.

For the customer the rules are simple:

• 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
• Scheme runs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; August 3 to 31
• Participate as many times as you like
• The customer does not need a voucher
• There is no minimum spend
• Customers are unable claim discount on alcoholic or service charges
• Number of covers in a group of any size can use the discount to eat out
• Participating venues include: restaurants, cafés, pubs and food halls

However, for the eatery the rules mean some complex calculations which must happen at the normal speed of a transaction, either when paying at the counter or when paying the bill at the table. Orbis quickly recognised from liaising with some of our clients that the UK Government expected some important guidelines were followed in line with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) rules, these included reporting from each site on:

• Number of people who have used the scheme
• Total value of transactions under the scheme, plus total discounts given
• VAT to be applied at the pre discount amount and not after discount

‘’Our hospitality customers are now starting to come out of lock-down. We have worked very hard to assist in getting our clients back up and running where we can. We realised that to speed up the process for the clients we needed to eliminate manual calculations for the latest UK Eat Out to Help Out promotion. Due to VAT being calculated at pre-discount amount means that really a straight promotional discount on any item eaten in the venue (and not a alcohol related drink item or a takeaway item) would not work. Instead Orbis has developed a solution that automatically applies the Government Discount as a payment type at the end of the sale, ignoring all excluded items not allowed in the scheme that were present in the POS basket. Simply put, the sale is already part tendered on the bill or at the till and the customer pays the remaining balance using cash or a payment card of sort. Orbis can do this by automatically applying the cap of £10 to the basket per person. The cashier or server only has to add the cover quantity count at the start of sale into the POS, Orbis POS works out the rest.” said Darren Brown, Business Development at Orbis Tech.

Daniela Massarella, Director of Massarella Catering Group who own and manage Coffee Shops throughout the UK for large department store retailers, garden centres and other retail environments commented about Orbis Tech’s solution, ‘‘As soon as the Government announced the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, we contacted Orbis our EPOS provider to establish if they could assist us. They very quickly developed a system to automatically deduct the discount from the transaction in line with the terms and conditions of the scheme and have also developed a report to collate the data required to assist us when making the claim. I am extremely impressed with the timescales in which Orbis have turned this around and the customer service and support has been brilliant throughout.’’

For more information on participating eateries in the UK involved in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme please visit the UK Government website: