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Business / Cafes and restaurants sign up to food discount scheme

One of the dishes prepared during the cooking challenge.Local food prepared at a recent food festival. Photo: Shetland News

A NUMBER of local cafes and restaurants are taking part in the UK-wide “eat out to help out” scheme offering discounted meals out in the early part of the week throughout August.

Shetland Food & Drink (SFAD) manager Claire White said the initiative, running from 3 to 31 August, could provide businesses with a vital boost having lost most of their expected 2020 tourist season trade.

Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the month cafes and restaurants will be able to offer a 50 per cent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks at sit-in premises.

Owners of those establishments will then be able to claim the discount, up to a maximum of £10 per diner, back from the government.

It aims to draw people back to food and drink outlets as restrictions ease.

Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer. It does not apply to outlets offering solely takeaway or mobile food facilities.

So far a number of SFAD members have confirmed they will be participating in the scheme.

These include The Dowry and The Peerie Shop in Lerwick, Da Haaf in Scalloway, Busta House Hotel and Mackenzies Farm Shop in Cunningsburgh.

Other businesses taking part so far include the Fetlar cafe, St Magnus Bay Hotel, the New Golden Coach, Lerwick Hotel, the Olive Tree, Shetland Hotel, Fjara, Eventastic and the Maryfield.

White said the coming weeks could be critical for many cafes and restaurants, which in addition to losing the bulk of this summer’s tourists will not enjoy the wintertime boost provided by Shetland Wool Week or the Up Helly Aa.

“As the community readjusts following months of the coronavirus lockdown, we completely understand there will be those who remain reluctant to come out, in particular those who have been shielding, and those people should not feel any pressure to do so,” she said.

“But for anyone who does feel ready to get back out and about in a social environment, and with the school holidays drawing to a close, ‘eat out to help out’ offers a great chance to treat yourself to a delicious lunch or dinner lovingly created by some of the mainstays of the local food scene.”

People can search by postcode for eligible businesses near them on the UK government website.