After many months of closures, curfews and restrictions, this spring marked the beginning of reopenings for the hospitality industry in many places where we operate in Europe. As the long-awaited reopenings rolled out in countries such as the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, here are some of the ways we lent our support to the millions of pubs, restaurants, retailers and more who depend on us to help them recover.
We welcomed back bar staff with extra tips
Closures have been especially tough on the people behind the bar, who rely on tips as an important part of their income. So to show gratitude to the resilient, hard-working hospitality staff across the UK and help kickstart their income during the reopening, Stella Artois started a tipping movement.
“The last year has been an incredibly difficult one for everyone working in the industry, and many weren't sure they'd make it through. The sector wants and needs a strong recovery, so it's fantastic to see the effort and support offered through this Stella Artois campaign,” said Heath Ball, owner of North London's award-winning pub The Red Lion & Sun.
Through our Stella Tips campaign, for every pint of Stella Artois served we committed to tipping £1 to staff behind the bar, encouraging consumers to do the same and start a nationwide tipping movement. In the UK alone, we gave over £500,000 in tips to more than 20,000 bar staff.
“Britain's pubs are the cornerstones of our communities, and it's the people behind the bar who bring this community together with a welcoming smile and pint in hand,” said Ali Humphrey, European Marketing Director of Stella Artois.
The campaign proved so successful that we replicated it in Belgium when terraces reopened in May. The Leffe Merci Horeca activation encouraged consumers to show their appreciation with a tip when buying a beer, and pledged to donate €1 for every Leffe ordered.
We handed over advertising space to local pubs
In the UK, Budweiser lent their support to local pubs who missed out on important revenue from the Emirates FA Cup Final weekend by donating its advertising space to the finalists' local pubs in Chelsea and Leicester.
Alex Zucconi, pub manager of The Rose, Fulham, London said, “Match days keep pubs like ours afloat. It's tough to have to sit this one out, but we understand the restrictions and the need to be patient. Thanks to Budweiser we're able to get our pub name in front of our local fans and millions of viewers.”
We celebrated reopening with a limited-edition brew
To commemorate the opening of the terraces in the Netherlands, Hertog Jan brewed a special limited-edition beer called Het Weerzien, which means The Reunion. Created especially for the moment, the specialty beer looks and tastes like a new spring.
“For many, the catering industry is the place where you can enjoy a good glass of beer in good company. This feeling, coupled with the start of spring, inspired 'Het Weerzien'. The beer tastes like a new beginning. With 'Het Weerzien' we hope to give the catering industry a helping hand and we will toast the moment we can finally meet again,” said brewer Micha Peute.
We provided practical and in person support
Our teams did more than just provide monetary donations to support the hospitality industry—we also showed up in person. In Belgium, we enlisted our colleagues to physically help the on-trade restart when restaurants and bars fully opened on June 9. We called for it to be a national holiday and gave our colleagues the day off to support their local bars and cafes. By preparing tables, setting out hand gels and washing glasses, our colleagues provided a hands-on approach.
In the UK, our teams doubled production to help our pub and bar partners get ready for outdoor reopening in April. Demand exceeded expectations and our supply teams worked around the clock to deliver fresh beer up and down the country and ensure those first perfectly-poured pints.
We also provided practical support to the on-trade as a vital part of a strong, sustainable recovery, offering deferred rent payments and rent reductions, free tap cleaning services and keg restocks.
“Getting back to bars, pubs, and restaurants with friends, family and the local community will be a symbol of recovery from the pandemic, and will also help to reignite the whole European economy and rebuild society,” said Jason Warner, Europe President, AB InBev.