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The Dead Pigeon in Rochester extends discount for two weeks as Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends


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Owners of a craft beer bar and eatery in Medway have decided to offer discount to their customers for another fortnight, despite the fact it means they'll be losing money.

Jamie Clark, co-landlord of The Dead Pigeon, in Rochester , made the decision with his business partner Tom Mudge following the success of the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Dead Pigeon landlords Tom Mudge (left) and Jamie Clark
Dead Pigeon landlords Tom Mudge (left) and Jamie Clark

The scheme, which was introduced by the government to help eateries get back on their feet following the coronavirus lockdown, offered 50% off meals and non-alcoholic drinks on Monday to Wednesday, capped at a saving of £10 per person.

The remaining cash was paid out to business owners through the scheme, but despite it ending yesterday the Rochester eatery and craft beer bar are continuing to offer cut-price food to their customers.

Jamie said: "If we get people in en masse we could still lose a little bit - obviously losing half your takings is quite hard - but we want to give back something to people because they supported us during lockdown, so we've worked out what we're going to lose each week and we're quite happy to do so.

"Obviously we're going to have to pay what we'd get from government and lose that basically, but we're also just seeing it as a way of getting people through the door."

During the lockdown Jamie and Tom pivoted their craft beer bar business and turned it into a takeaway service, delivering pizza, burgers and draught beer to the people of Medway.

The scheme has now ended but the craft beer pub and eatery is extending it. Pic: Stock image
The scheme has now ended but the craft beer pub and eatery is extending it. Pic: Stock image

Once restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the pair shifted their bar into a sit-down restaurant.

During the Eat out To Help Out scheme the place was packed, even on days where the discount did not apply.

Jamie said: "We were fully booked every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Thursday, and we are this week too so we've found it's brought so many people into our place who then book up for other nights.

"On Monday to Wednesday in August the tables went up at midnight two weeks in advance and by the end of that day they'd almost be fully booked."

He added: "We got very little no shows - we did get a few and it was frustrating during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but we just added another email reminder so if they cancelled we could reset the table."

Beers at the bar. Stock image
Beers at the bar. Stock image

Although the pair will have to face losing out a little of their takings for the next two weeks, they have decided the discount extension is more beneficial than pumping money into online advertising.

Jamie said: "If I did a marketing campaign on Facebook and spent £1000 on that, you're not necessarily going to get people through the door.

"Rather than brand awareness we're going for direct - get them trying the food and if they love it they'll come back."

Is your pub or restaurant continuing the offer? Email news@thekmgroup.co.uk

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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