As the UK heads into a 2nd lockdown, I had an idea I’d love you to consider and challenge

While standing in line this morning at McDonald’s about 2 meters away from the person in front of me, lockdown has gotten me a bit paranoid I sadly just want to avoid people these days, I started to think that this might be the last time I’ll step inside any kind of restaurant for a while, maybe the rest of the year.

I started thinking about all of the recommendations the UK Government and Boris Johnson have given us since March. In particular, I thought about the Eat Out to Help Out program, and most importantly, how Covid and lockdown would affect small businesses, the elderly, the less mobile, and the poor most.

Often times in times of deep thought, I start an exercise and I ask, “What if we did the exact opposite, what would happen then?” An idea started to form and this is what I’d love you to challenge.

A new idea for Eat Out to Help Out

What if the Eat Out to Help Out program wasn’t designed to give us 50% discounts to encourage us to eat out more, what if instead, it was designed as a 200% tax?

In this version, Boris Johnson encouraged us to grab a pint at our local pub, but the most important thing is this double the bill tax.

Pints aren’t £4, they jump to £8, burger + fries aren’t £10 they are £20 and a juicy steak meal wasn’t £30 it was £60, but if you’re bored at home, then go out. Be safe of course, but go out all you want.

And where does the tax money go? It gets split amongst the restaurants, staff, and to Covid relief…particular those that are most at-risk.

What might happen in this alternate world?

For those who are price-sensitive, a 200% tax just might dissuade them enough to stay home while the people who need to go out would, whether a party, a date, or just a damn drink from time to time, can help make up the difference to the restaurants while maybe impacting the bottom line for those at-risk.

I mean, there’s even a chance there might be an adverse side effect where that group go out even more frequently using this tax as an excuse to help increase resources for the elderly and the poor.

This isn’t fair for everyone

I know, I know. This new program would heavily favor people who have money, more disposable income, and those who are younger and healthier. The elderly want to go out. Those in wheelchairs want to go out. The less fortunate want to go out.

At the same time, I’m standing in line at McDonald’s and if it meant that my double cheeseburger might cost me £3 but we weren’t going into a 2nd lockdown, Covid cases were going down and those at-risk were getting my extra tax contribution, I think it could be worth it.

I come up with a lot of ideas while in the shower. I’ll share a few here.