The Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially came to an end yesterday, with an extension said to be unlikely.

The scheme, launched by chancellor Rishi Sunak in July, saw 84,000 restaurants take part, serving more than 64 million meals in just three weeks.

But despite the overwhelming success of the initiative, the government has so far ignored called to extend the 50% weekday offer.

While many larger operators are taking it upon themselves to self-fund an extension of the scheme, the Federation for Small Businesses is among groups calling for a government-backed extension.

“This scheme has been an overwhelming success,” said chief of external affairs Craig Beaumont. “We’ve seen the behaviour change, we’ve seen people going in and enjoying their local small businesses safely, and we’ve seen our high streets beginning to reinvigorate.

“And that’s why we really want to see an extension to the scheme, or some form of the scheme, to continue to guarantee that this continues throughout the autumn. We need the economic recovery to really take place, and the hospitality sector should be at the heart of that.”

Although with the government debt now standing at around £2 trillion, there is little indication that an extension will take place.

Commenting on the end of his initiative, Sunak said: “As the Eat Out to Help Out scheme draws to a close, I want to say thank you to the diners who have fallen back in love with their local, to the managers who have spent weeks ensuring their restaurants were safe and to the chefs, waiters and waitresses across the country who have worked tirelessly, sometimes with more customers than they’ve ever had before - all helping to protect 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality sector.

“The scheme reminded us why we as a nation love dining out and I urge diners to maintain the momentum to help continue our economic recovery.”