Operators who took part in Tax Parity Day have reported positive reactions from guests and staff, many of whom were previously unaware of the unequal tax treatment of hospitality.
According to organiser Jacques Borel many of those that took part in the day of action last Wednesday reported an uplift in sales. "Tax Parity Day was an outstanding success with companies taking part reporting that it was a wonderful way to reinforce our message that lower VAT in our sector will deliver lower prices and create hundreds of thousands of jobs," he added.
All Fullers pubs took part in the day, reducing their prices by 7.5%. Chief executive Simon Emeny said the group saw a surge in customers.
He said: "We believe it goes to show that a reduction in the disparity in VAT levels between supermarkets and our sector would encourage new customers to socialise in pubs and restaurants. This would not only be beneficial for the economy but also, in the long-term, stimulate additional employment."
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said that the pub giant sold 20% more pints and meals on the day. He added: "Customers welcomed the lower prices on food and drink and also engaged with our staff to learn more about the campaign and the reasons behind it. Tax Parity Day was also a great way of highlighting the great British pub."
Pizza Hut managing director Jens Hofma said that the day helped highlight the injustice of the unequal VAT treatment between supermarkets, who pay no VAT on food, and the hospitality sector, who are saddled with 20%.
Meanwhile, Matthew Sankey,owner of Sankeys in Tunbridge Wells said: "Our customers all enjoyed the 7.5% reduction in costs, but what they really liked was the additional staff we laid on. I think this is going to be the key to this policy.
"Our ability, potentially, to be able to afford to employ additional staff has such a massive effect on the service we offer and that is what customers really want - better service. I'm not saying that we are not any good at service in the country but we are nowhere near our continental rivals. This proposed cut in VAT might just be the ticket."