Excitedly awaiting a visit to your favorite place to have a beer? Many of us are. According to a recent Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland survey, 93% of Brits are eagerly awaiting a return to the pub.
In the meantime, AB InBev has been working hard and getting creative to help our pub, bar and restaurant partners survive pandemic shutdowns with ‘buy a beer now, enjoy later' voucher programs, online ordering, financial support and more. One initiative, “Save Pub Life” has already raised £1 million for 1,500 pubs across England, Scotland and Wales, including The Thatched Tavern in Ascot, England.
“Save Pub Life has been a real savior in keeping us afloat and given us a sense of hope for when the lockdown eventually eases,” said owner Laurence Coveney. “The Thatched Tavern has been at the heart of this community for over 300 years and during the lockdown we have stayed open and provided local collections and delivery of hot food and supplies. Save Pub Life has provided tremendous support to the industry.”
Now as lockdown measures ease in some parts of the world amid strict safety measures, AB InBev continues to bring people together for the safe re-opening of our favorite hangouts. Here's how.
Refresh and replenish
In Brazil, Ambev partnered with Coca-Cola, Heineken Group, Nestlé and others to create “Movimento Nós” (We Movement) which is helping re-open 300,000 small businesses – employing about one million people. With a combined investment of nearly $70 million, the program will ensure that businesses meet local reopening health and safety requirements and stock is replenished, while strengthening relationships between local retailers and consumers.
Building off the “Open for Takeout” initiative where consumers buy one beer for takeout and get one for when their bar reopens, Bud Light's new U.S. initiative, “Certified Fresh” will replace any Bud Light past its ‘best before' date at no cost so that first sip of Bud Light tastes just as great as the day it was brewed. Anheuser-Busch also contributed $1 million to the US Bartenders Guild's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program for its COVID-19 Relief and Response Program, and an additional $2 million to local and regional organizations that are supporting on-premise bar and restaurant workers.
Our ZX Ventures team, which operates over 400 pubs and restaurants around the world, developed a 100-page ‘re-opening playbook' offering best practices aligned to health authority and country guidelines. The document, which covers topics ranging from cleaning and disinfecting protocols to building an online presence, was shared with government and industry groups globally to support small hospitality businesses as they adapt to the ‘new normal' of the pandemic.
Tapping into technology
Social distancing has radically changed how many pubs, bars and restaurants can operate when they re-open. To help, we launched the ‘café of the future' toolkit in Belgium. It includes a free smartphone app where patrons can view a menu, order and pay using a QR code. Our Belgian teams are also helping our hospitality partners clean and prepare their draft systems, make sure there's fresh beer in every keg free of charge, and providing ‘safety kits' with tools, tips and visuals, like posters, to make social distancing rules noticeable, clear and easy for customers to follow.
In Germany, we just launched a free website that makes it easy for bar and pub owners to design digital versions of their menus for contactless, QR code ordering. Because Germany's restaurants are currently required to collect COVID-19 contact tracing data from customers, we're partnered with the Recover app to make the process safe and contactless. It's been so effective, we'll soon be offering it in other parts of Europe, as well.
Meanwhile, following an eight-week ban on the sale of alcohol in South Africa, SAB teamed up with government and industry bodies to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings and hand sanitizer, to taverns nationwide. Also launched was the nation's first “Click and Collect,” program, an inclusive mobile service that allows consumers – even those without a smartphone or data/internet connection - to safely order beer and pick it up at a designated time, reducing contact with others and avoiding crowds.
Even with many precautions, we know many people will still be hesitant and cautious about re-entering public spaces. Anheuser-Busch is partnering with the U.S. National Restaurant Association as the exclusive beer partner of the Restaurant Revival Campaign, aimed at bolstering the restaurant and foodservice industry's recovery. Through a national advertising campaign, Anheuser-Busch's Stella Artois and the National Restaurant Association will invite diners back into restaurants when it is safe to do so and encourage restaurants to sign the ServSafe Dining Commitment.
Stella Artois and famed street artist Shepard Fairey are making it easier for pub-goers to safely meet up with friends for a beer with the #TogetherApartStreetArt installation at London's Truman Brewery.
The POST (People Outside Safely Together) Promise, is a public commitment made by Canadian businesses to follow all local health, safety and government rules. Our Labatt Breweries were among the first to join as a corporate founding partner.
"Restaurants play such an important role in our communities and social lives, and by committing to follow a set of common best practices and displaying the nationally recognized POST Promise certification, it will help give consumers the confidence they need to enjoy going out again, and really bring the dining experience back to life," said Charlie Angelakos, Labatt's VP of Legal and Corporate Affairs.
Whether we're matching funds, developing free apps and educational materials, cleaning taps or refilling kegs, AB InBev is committed to supporting our pubs, restaurants and bars as they begin to reopen. We know that if we work together, we can make it through this, and as our colleagues from Budweiser say, together, we will run again. Cheers!