More than 72,000 restaurants have signed up to take part in the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which launches today.
Under the scheme the government will subsidise 50% of food and soft drink bills up to a maximum of £10 per head from Mondays to Wednesdays throughout August.
Restaurateurs operating everything from fast-food outlets to Michelin-starred dining rooms have signed up to take part in the deal, with many launching special menus or adding their own sweeteners to entice customers through the door.
It is hoped that the scheme will drive the public back into restaurants following the months of Covid-19 lockdown and help protect the livelihoods of the 1.8 million people employed across the industry by increasing covers on what are typically quieter days.
The government has also launched a restaurant finder tool for people to discover who is offering the deal near them, which has received 3.3 million hits since launching last week.
When the scheme was announced it was widely welcomed by the industry for helping to give restaurants and pubs "a fighting chance".
Chancellor Rishi Sunak today said: "Our Eat Out to Help Out scheme's number one aim is to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million chefs, waiters and restaurateurs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.
"More than 72,000 establishments will be serving discounted meals across the country, with the government paying half the bill. The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it's been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support – we'll pay half."