A quarter of a million people have signed up for an app which helps diners find out which restaurants are participating in a government scheme. 

The meal deal scheme, ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, launched this month to give customers up to 50 per cent off to help eateries in the wake of COVID-19. More than 60,000 restaurants are participating. 

Manchester start-up Sancus Insights saw its app hit No.1 on the food & drink ranking on the Play Store, while its overall Apple ranking placed it above the likes of tech behemoths Twitter, LinkedIn and Uber. 

Michael Lawes and Jordan Ryan Madeley came up with the idea when they were bombarded with questions about the meal deal through another digital high street platform they run.  

“Our sole aim is to bring the high street into the 21st Century,” said CEO Michael Lawes. “We aim to provide a platform that puts everything our high streets have to offer at our fingertips; where our experiences are tailored to who we are and where brick and mortar business can access the same sort of digital insight and power as online businesses do, every day.  

“We saw this scheme as an opportunity to lay the foundation for this. Starting with the hospitality sector to help those local eateries we all know and love to bounce back better.” 

The app was created and deployed within three days 

CTO Madeley explained: “We expected high traffic but the passion and eagerness from the public to support their local eateries was phenomenal. We went from 500 users in the first three days, to 25,000 thousand downloads a day from there on.  

This instantly toppled our servers, limiting access to the app during peak periods, which was incredibly frustrating for us and of course our users of which we apologise.  

So we were all hands on deck day and night to stabilise things. It took a lot of investment in time and money, but at the end of the day, it was the right thing to do.” 

Eat Out to Help Out

Now working alongside HMRC for a regular stream of updates in participating venues, the app is now aiming for 1,000,000 downloads before the scheme ends. 

The start-up then intends to continue assisting high street businesses as they aim to bounce back from lockdown. 

The app is free and available for venues and diners to download at www.eatouttohelpout.app