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Eat Out to Help Out – independent restaurants urge diners to ‘Eat Independent, Support Local’ this August

Bristol Food Union and the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective launch campaign to drive the public to ‘eat independent, support local’.

Independent restaurants, across Wales and the South West are calling on customers to use the UK Government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme to support independent businesses when the discount scheme launches today.

By choosing to use the scheme with their local independent restaurants and food businesses, customers will be directing government support to the small businesses, high streets and communities which need it the most. 

In the West of England 44,000 people are employed in the food and tourism industry, about 8% of the total workforce. In Wales restaurants, food service and accommodation employ around 100,000 people. 

Two campaigns to promote this message have been launched today in the West of England and in Wales, by Bristol Food Union and the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective. Stickers promoting the campaign will be displayed in the windows of participating independent restaurants in Bristol and throughout Wales.

The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) formed during lockdown to work together to try and save jobs and businesses in the sector. Bristol Food Union is a collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations, which came together to ensure that the city of Bristol stayed fed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Simon Wright, restaurateur and one of the WIRC founders said:

“Independent restaurants are the heart and soul of towns and villages throughout Wales. They create local jobs, bring people out to the high street, underpin tourism and support our farmers and producers,” he said.

“As restaurants in Wales begin reopening indoors from today (Aug 3rd), they’re facing reduced capacity and increased costs from Covid-proofing premises and a huge dent in consumer confidence. That’s on top of the hit they’ve taken through lockdown, which has resulted in an estimated 30,000 at risk in Wales in the coming months. Customers choosing to use Eat Out to Help Out in independent businesses will be directing government support where it’s needed most – protecting jobs in local economies.”

Aine Morris, founder of the Bristol Food Union, said:

“Whilst the Food Union welcomes the government’s support of the hospitality industry over August, it leaves a somewhat unpleasant taste to realise that the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme will be the multinational fast food chains. These businesses can afford to ride out the economic downturn, whilst many of the smaller independents cannot. 

Bristol’s food community did an exceptional job of keeping the city fed during lockdown, we hope that the public will now lend their support by using their discount with participating independents as much as possible.”

There are 157,035 accommodation and food service businesses in the UK and in the first quarter of 2020, just under 1.8 million people were employed in the accommodation and food services sector.

Restaurants, food businesses and members of the public can support the ‘Eat Independent, Support Local’ campaign online using the hashtags #EatIndieWales and #EatIndieBristol.

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