A twin-pronged campaign has been launched to revive the hospitality industry and get workers back into offices.
The government is being urged to give free lunches to all city centre workers, following the success of its Eat Out to Help Out initiative.
Jonathan Ratcliffe, from serviced office company offices.co.uk that is spearheading “Lunch is on us” campaign, said: “City centres are struggling, cafés and sandwich shops empty, trains and buses underused. We want the government to incentivise their use by providing lunch and travel vouchers."
The thinking behind the “Lunch is on us” campaign is to incentivise office workers back to work by using the same style of tactics as used in the hugely popular “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.
This is how the campaign would work:
- Government would provide free lunch vouchers for the value of £5;
- Bosses would hand out vouchers every day;
- Valid in city centre cafés and sandwich shops only;
- Restriction to working days only.
The same campaign could be used to incentivise different parts of city centre working life, such as providing free transport vouchers to encourage use of the public transport system .
Mr Ratcliffe has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to campaign for the scheme. If enough interest is shown a Government petition will be launched.
He said: “City centre businesses are on the edge - we need folks back in the office spending money, and anyway who doesn’t love a free lunch?”
- The Eat Out To Help Out scheme is running until the end of August and offers half-price meals, capped at £10, in restaurants, cafes and bars on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Meals must be eaten on the premises and there is no limit to how many times the discount can be used.
More than 80,000 restaurants have signed up to the initiative including fast food chains such as KFC and McDonalds.