HUNGRY West Fifers have tucked into 74,000 meals under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Treasury figures show discounts worth £420,000 have been claimed in the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency up to August 27 with an average discount of £5.64 per meal.

A total of 74 restaurants in the area signed up to the scheme, which saw diners get a 50 per cent reduction on meals and soft drinks up to £10 each on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August.

Dhoom on the New Row and 1703 at Bruce Street are just two of the restaurants who took up the initiative and have seen such a boost to their business that they’ve decided to carry on giving diners a discount through September.

David Stein, the owner of 1703, admitted that he wasn’t sure when they would have re-opened until the Chancellor announced the scheme.

“It was one of the key reasons why we re-opened,” he said.

“We were thinking of just keeping closed in August still but when we saw this we decided to go for it.

“It’s been fantastic – it got everyone out again, helped us as a business recover and it’s brought thousands of new customers into our doors.

“So we’re thanking our customers by extending into September at our cost with 25 per cent off Monday to Wednesday.”

David added: “I think the chancellor got this bang on – it’s been the boost we needed.

“As a point of balance, I think there could be more done to help businesses though.

“The fact that we fell through the gaps for support and with over 50 staff that was a very worrying time for us.

“We carried out a survey with 1,500 customers before this, asking if they were keen to come out and the results of that meant we were very sceptical about opening back up.

“We thought we should take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme though and we’re glad we did because it has introduced so many more customers to our business.

“People are still keen to take advantage of offers and come out all through the week.”

Dhoom is continuing to offer a 50 per cent discount at the beginning of the week.

Owner Dhaneshwar Prasad said: “We have had so many people through our doors and we’re full every day of the week.

“It’s hitting my pocket at the moment but we think it will bring more people in and will help us in the long term.

“We are a newcomer and we never really got a chance to get going before lockdown.

“It’s the best thing for us at the moment, at least we have revenue moving around and hopefully people will come back.”

The UK Government set aside £500 million for the scheme in a bid to get the hospitality industry moving again.

Across Scotland, a total of 6,333,000 meals have been claimed, equating to £38,607,000, while, in the UK, that total was more than 100 million meals.

These numbers are likely to grow, with restaurants having until the end of September to claim back the 50 per cent government-funded discount applied to bills.