Nando's and Pizza Express are to reopen dozens more branches across the country to take part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The scheme is valid for dine in customers between Monday to Wednesday between August 3 and 31 and will see the government cover half the cost of customers’ meals and soft drinks, up to £10 per head.

Here's a round-up of what each chain are doing.

How many branches of Pizza Express are reopening?

They are reopening 63 restaurants to take part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme - and customers will also be treated to free Dough Balls with their meals.

The news comes as the next phase of Pizza Express’ reopening plan following its phased reintroduction of dine-in, delivery and click-and-collect services at a selection of its pizzerias since July 9.

The selected restaurants will reopen for both dine-in and dine-out services on Thursday, August 13.

Each of the 63 pizzerias set to reopen will support the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme throughout the month of August for dine-in customers to enjoy 50 percent off their bill.

The company has also announced that reopening plans for more of its restaurants will be announced shortly.

How can I get free dough balls?

As a further incentive to participate in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the restaurant chain is also offering all dine-in customers a free portion of its much-loved dough balls, with every main course ordered.

However, unlike the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, this offer will run for every day of the week, until Monday, August 31, 2020.

What safety measures have been implemented?

PizzaExpress released a statement, ensuring its customers that its “teams have worked hard to implement robust measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of teams and customers in all reopened pizzerias.”

Such measures include a physically distanced layout, hand sanitiser stations, heightened cleaning and hygiene procedures as well as regular health checks of staff members.

To further encourage social distancing measures among customers, PizzaExpress has also introduced a new online booking service, alongside a new digital menu and cashless payment in its restaurants.

Zoe Bowley, Managing Director at PizzaExpress said: “The response to our online booking system, new digital menus and cashless payments has been fantastic, and we continue to encourage everyone to use these services as much as possible as their local restaurant reopens. We are very grateful for the way that our customers have embraced our new procedures.”

Which Pizza Express restaurants are reopening on August 13?

The full list of pizzerias that will reopen on Thursday, August 13, are:

  • Ashford MG
  • Ashford
  • Belfast 1 Bedford St
  • Belfast 2 Lisburn Rd
  • Belfast 3 Victoria Square
  • Belfast Ballyhackamore
  • Belfast St Annes Square
  • Birmingham Resorts World
  • Bristol 5 Cribbs Causeway
  • Bristol 6 Cabot Circus
  • Bury
  • Cardiff 2 Mermaid Quay
  • Cardiff 3 St David’s
  • Carmarthen
  • Castleford
  • Cheltenham
  • Cirencester
  • Coventry 2 Belgrade Plaza
  • Doncaster
  • East Grinstead
  • Edinburgh 1 Queensferry St
  • Edinburgh 2 Deanhaugh St
  • Edinburgh 3 Northbridge
  • Edinburgh 4 Leith
  • Edinburgh 7 Ocean Terminal
  • Edinburgh 8 Morningside
  • Edinburgh 9 Fort
  • Harborne
  • Haywards Heath
  • Inverness
  • Kendal
  • Leamington Spa
  • Leeds 3 Street Lane
  • Leeds 4 Leeds Dock
  • Leeds 8 Birstall
  • Leeds White Rose
  • Liverpool 3 One
  • Liverpool 4 Hope St
  • Livingston
  • Lytham St Annes
  • Manchester 4 Trafford
  • Market Harborough
  • Milton Keynes 2 Mid Arcade
  • Milton Keynes 3 Xscape
  • Milton Keynes 4 One
  • Monmouth
  • Northampton
  • Perth
  • Preston
  • Rochester
  • Sheffield 4 Ecclesall Rd
  • St Andrews
  • Stirling
  • Stockport
  • Swansea
  • Swindon 2
  • Swindon
  • Tamworth
  • Telford
  • Tonbridge
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Uckfield
  • Worcester

What about Nando's?

After successfully reopening 10 restaurants for eat-in several weeks ago, Nando’s has started to reopen more restaurants to the public.

A total of 93 further restaurants across London, Manchester, Reading, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Coventry, Sheffield and Belfast to name a few, opened their doors for hungry diners on July 30.

This brings the total number of Nando’s restaurants open for eat-in up to 103 and the total number available for delivery and online click and collect to over 350. 

Those looking to eat-in will notice a few differences when they come and visit for the first time, as a host of new safety protocols have been implemented. Before coming to their local restaurants, diners should note the following:

  • Each restaurant will be operating under a reduced capacity to help maintain social distancing. This means that there will be fewer tables available at any one time and waiting times to be seated might be a little longer than usual. If demand is particularly high then customers needn't worry as online click and collect and home delivery and will still be available in some restaurants.  
  • Each restaurant will be operating a virtual queuing system via a QR code which can be scanned via a mobile phone, customers will be allotted a virtual slot in the queue and will be alerted when their table is ready via a text message or notification.
  • The restaurant will be able to accommodate tables of up to six people maximum. When the table is ready a member of the Nando’s team will greet guests at the door, where hand sanitiser will be provided, they will lead them to the table.
  • Customers will have a recyclable disposable menu available but will scan a QR code and place their order and pay via their phone. 
  • All food, drinks, cutlery, PERi-PERi sauce and napkins will be brought to the table by a member of the restaurant team and dessert orders can be made at the table. Anyone looking to order a refill for their drink should speak to a member of the team who will happily grab a clean glass and refill it. 
  • Tables will be clear of the usual menu stands, cockerel sticks and saltshakers and will be completely cleaned down and swept before and after each use including tables, chairs and the surrounding floor.

The new measures are designed to minimise contact with customers at other tables and avoid queues within the restaurant to maintain safety.

A spokesman from the chain said: "Things might be a little different for a while, but we hope the changes won’t drastically affect the laid back Nando’s experience that people have come to know and love.

"We will continue to offer a reduced menu to help the restaurant team maintain social distance in the kitchen and food prep areas, but never fear as the majority of Nando’s favourites such as PERi-PERi chicken wings, halloumi and PERi chips will still be available.

"Each Nando’s restaurant has been working under increased government COVID 19 safety guidelines for the past weeks on top of their existing health and safety procedures serving delivery and online click and collect customers.

"Not only can you enjoy Nando’s at our place again, but because we’re taking part in the 50% off Eat Out to Help Out scheme, fans can also get 50% off their PERi-PERi fix every Monday-Wednesday in August when they eat-in.

"That’s all food and soft drinks for half price! T&Cs apply. Nando’s will be slightly cheaper than usual on every other day as well as we have passed on all the savings of the recent VAT cut to our customers as well.

"We look forward to serving more fans across the UK very soon."

Details of which restaurants are currently open and when more will reopen can be found here.