“The friendly and generous welcoming of guests” is what the hospitality industry is all about. The pandemic has us all missing our favorite places, but none miss it more than our hosts, the hard-working people at our local bars, restaurants and pubs. It's no secret many are struggling to survive pandemic shutdowns and to meet strict requirements to keep their customers safe.
Over the past year AB InBev has rallied to help keep hospitality businesses afloat. We launched pre-paid voucher programs worldwide to offer a needed injection of cash during lengthy quarantines. Some programs also included matching donations from our brands, like Apoie Um Restaurante in Brazil and Save Pub Life, a program that together with Stella Artois, alone channeled $7.6 million USD to pubs, restaurants and bars globally. We also helped cover expenses, for example, offering rent relief for hospitality businesses in Belgium and the Netherlands and calling on property owners to match the contribution.
Pub owners also needed help managing long-term shutdowns and re-openings.
Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG) UK & Ireland responded by launching returnyourbeer.co.uk with the British Beer & Pub Association, a platform that allows owners to digitally scan and document their keg inventory, and request refunds and replacements for expired product. BBG also launched an educational podcast series to guide pub owners through managing a long-term closure, planning for re-opening and last-minute to-dos before welcoming guests again.
New services, no cost
Safety protocols ignited demand for digital menus, online ordering, digital payments and home delivery. But many small and medium-sized hospitality businesses don't have the resources or technology to support these services.
In our markets around the world AB InBev is working with tech partners to bring innovative digital platforms to pubs, bars and restaurants at no cost. For instance, Z-Tech, our innovation hub, is providing the Get In app to restaurants in need of online reservation services and contactless menus.
In Latin America AB InBev is connecting more than 15,000 hospitality businesses with two million consumers using custom-built solutions like DigitalMenu and Gurmi, to quickly create digital menus and QR codes and make the transition to ecommerce and digital ordering.
A new solution with our partner VTEX also makes it possible for restaurant owners to quickly begin offering contactless ordering, payment and delivery services without making costly investments in technology and software. It's a win for consumers who want to easily and safely support local businesses and a win for restaurants working to rebound and make ends meet in these difficult times.
Football stadiums looking for a solution to safely serve beverages to fans during a match found it in a free app offered by our Jupiler brand in Belgium. Jupiler was the first brewer to offer consumers contactless ordering with in-seat delivery, and given its popularity, the service is expected to continue for the long-term.
Prepping for happy returns
Anheuser-Busch (A-B) is also doing its part to support local restaurants and their workers in the US. After making a combined $2 million USD donation to the US Bartenders Guild's Emergency Assistance Program, James Beard Foundation and other local and regional organizations supporting bar and restaurant staff, A-B and Stella Artois joined up with the National Restaurant Association's “Restaurant Revival' campaign to encourage consumers to return to their favorite dining spots.
“Restaurants are central to a thriving community, touching many lives as employers, valued business partners and places that bring people together,” said Jenn Morris, head of communications at Anheuser-Busch. “All of us at Anheuser-Busch are proud to support the hospitality industry and, in turn, the economic recovery of the places we call home.”