Eat Out to Help Out: More than 136,000 meals served in Harrogate and Knaresborough under discount scheme
More than 136,000 discounted meals were eaten by diners in Harrogate and Knaresborough under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The government-backed scheme gave diners in the district a 50 per cent discount on meals and soft drinks up to £10 each on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.
Restaurants reported a surge in bookings and official figures now show discounts amounted to more than £931,000, with diners saving an average of almost £7 on each meal.
The scheme was hailed as a major boost to the hard-hit hospitality industry but restaurants, pubs and bars have called on customers for their continued support to help them avoid a fresh downturn in the coming months
Sara Ferguson, who owns Italian restaurant Sasso in Harrogate and is also the acting chair of Harrogate BID, previously said: "It has been great to offer this discount to regulars and also to welcome new diners who feel that this has given them the opportunity to try us out.
"There is of course a lot of uncertainty going forward, for everyone, so we really hope that diners will continue to support us in the coming months."
Some businesses in Harrogate have vowed to continue offering their own discounts, regardless of whether they get state support.
There have also been calls for an extension of the scheme during the quieter winter months, but this has been ruled out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Nationally, more than 100 million meals were claimed by customers during August.
Restaurants have so far made 130,000 claims worth £522m back, and the figures are likely to rise as outlets have until the end of September to claim.
Mr Sunak said: "From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before.
"Today's figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success. I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter