Using Targeted Stimulus to Support Struggling Businesses Through the Dine & Discover Program

  • 2022

  • Service
    Public Sector Services

Designed By:

  • Service NSW

Commissioned By:

NSW Government; Treasury

Designed In:


To address the impact of COVID-19 on NSW businesses, Service NSW designed a targeted way to deliver stimulus at scale. The Dine & Discover program has injected over $450 million into our economy, encouraging residents to safely leave their homes and support local businesses to keep their doors open.

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  • During the pandemic, thousands of NSW businesses and residents were thrown into immediate financial difficulty. With businesses losing revenue and many closing their doors during lockdowns, unemployment rates rose to 7.4% Many families and individuals could only afford essential costs, and restrictions further reduced discretionary spending. NSW government needed to uplift the economy and wellbeing of our people and businesses, however previous financial initiatives of cash-in-bank accounts had not allowed the stimulus to be tracked or spent effectively. NSW government had to find a new way to deliver stimulus that targeted spending to specific industries to deliver the right outcome.

  • The Dine & Discover program provides NSW residents with 6x $25 vouchers worth $150 in total to spend with businesses. The vouchers were conditional and split across two voucher types, ensuring the targeted and equitable distribution of funds toward the food and entertainment industries. Dine Vouchers - redeemable at food premises including restaurants and bars; and Discover Vouchers, redeemable at entertainment and recreation premises including cinemas and museums. Vouchers are accessed through an easy application process, accessible online, via phone or in person. Covid-safe businesses could choose to participate in the program and received payment within 5 days.

  • Available to over 6.5 million NSW residents aged over 18, Dine & Discover has delivered impact at unparalleled scale. 18.2 million vouchers (April 2022) have been redeemed across NSW, with over 18,500 businesses participating in the program. More than $441.9m has been injected into local food and entertainment businesses across NSW, providing critical financial relief to those who suffered the most, while uplifting the wellbeing of residents without impacting their financial stability. This program has also set a new precedent for how governments provide targeted and trackable stimulus to their citizens, and has been utilised for multiple new initiatives since.

  • We provided multi-language guidance. Comms were available in English, Arabic, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese. These were available online and in service centres. We mitigated fraudulent and unauthorised usage through Proof of Identity and Dynamic voucher codes. Customers and business owners securely verified their identity during registration online, or in person, and access dynamic codes in the app. Vouchers had expiry dates, and reflected utilisation. Expiries drove demand for vouchers to be spent in a set timeframe, supported immediate injection of funds. Vouchers in the mobile app were clearly labelled as available or used. A Business Finder increased the visibility of local businesses. Customers could search for participating businesses by postcode or business name and view results on a map. COVID Safe Businesses were recognised. Eligibility criteria was established to ensure safety, allowing participation only from registered COVID Safe businesses with COVID Safety Plans. There was a standalone app built for businesses. Specialised app enabled businesses to scan vouchers, view Dine & Discover transactions (vouchers that had been redeemed at their business) and export them as CSV file for accounting purposes. A dedicated concierge for businesses was established. Available for Business owners to get tailored support.