Get paid to eat

Governments worldwide are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to supporting the hostelry business while looking after the health of their citizens. On the one hand they need to get restaurant and bar workers back to their jobs and stop subsidising them, while on the other, they are telling us that we should eat in.

The UK government's plan to give ten pounds towards each individual meal sounds a worthwhile idea in principle. Anyone going to a restaurant will receive the subsidy on meals consumed from Monday to Wednesday in pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc. The maximum is ten pounds per person, wine and alcoholic drinks not subsidised. IVA has been cut from 20% to 5% on hospitality and tourism, which is a measure Spain should copy.

Britain is not alone in offering financial incentives to reinvigorate the severely damaged sector. Many countries have come up with similiar ideas, ranging from big discounts to free vouchers for future meals. In Germany and Austria unlimited beer is on the menu, and in restaurants in many Eastern European countries two meals are offered for the price of one.

But surely isn't the one catch-all trick to offer wine at half price across the board?

The wine industry is suffering badly and needs to shift stocks, and the usually immoral restaurant markup of a typical 300% on cost gives plenty of room for this, and leaves everyone happy. A bottle costing the restaurant ten euros is usually priced at 25 or 30, so why not sell it for 15?