Published: 14:06, 05 August 2020
| Updated: 15:25, 05 August 2020
Cafes, pubs and restaurants are vying for your custom as the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme gets under way.
Certain food outlets across Gravesham have signed up for a slice of the action which started on Monday.
The scheme is available throughout August and allows customers to enjoy 50% off meals and non-alcoholic drinks, capped at a discount of £10 per person.
Eat Out to Help Out applies to eat-in food and drink on Monday to Wednesdays.
It's being rolled out nationally in a bid to get diners tucking in once more and to give a much-needed boost to businesses following the initial lockdown pause to trade.
Graham Broadbent, owner of Marie's Tea Room in Gravesend's Heritage Quarter says the response has been amazing so far.
"Our weekdays have turned into Saturdays," he said "It has been brilliant for us".
"We don't know how it is going to affect Thursday or Friday but so far it has done exactly what it is supposed to do."
He went on to add customers who would usually settle for a slice of toast were now taking full advantage, ordering full English breakfasts.
It's a much needed boost for the cafe which was operating as a takeaway only business until recently, following the lockdown.
But Graham is optimistic about the future and has recently released a video on social media showing the steps he and staff are taking to keep customers safe.
"We have had some positive feedback posted online saying how safe people feel," he adds.
Along the town pier the early signs are that the discount scheme has been having a positive affect in driving diners out to eat, says Lester Banks owner of the Three Daws Riverside Inn.
"It is going extremely well," he said. "We have seen a great increase in customers booking into eat.
"The first two days of activity as a result of the discount has been quite striking."
And while customer levels are yet to return to what they were, Mr Banks is confident they are moving in the right direction after their first three weeks of opening, adding "every week it is getting better".
The publican went on to express his only fear was that as a result of people dining out early they might not return later in the week.
But in this regard he said only time will tell and that he hopes any "initial trepidation" will soon ease.
In Queen Street, the award-winning Reliance Fish Restaurant has also seen an increase in footfall.
Owner Jack Kamenou said even prior to the pandemic, Mondays to Wednesdays were quieter days but customers were starting to return for sit-down suppers.
He believes the Eat Out to Help Out scheme will only aid the restaurant in encouraging people back in and is encouraging diners to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
"It is going to help 100%, but for how long no one knows," he said.
"People are still scared. They come in and ask if we are social distancing, but once they see we are they are okay."
Click here for a full list of places signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in Gravesend.