The COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated lockdowns and restriction of movement in most parts of the world, including Nigeria, has forced the closure of many offices and businesses including bars and restaurants. The continued closure of the bars and restaurants, particularly in Nigeria, poses a risk to the continuity of these businesses which can affect our economy negatively as they are a part of the micro, small and medium enterprises that contribute to economic growth.
Worried by this possibility, Budweiser, a brand from the stables of IBPlc., has launched a unique initiative, termed ‘Naija Bar Rescue’ to help sustain these bars during and after the pandemic, and also provide a platform for consumers to support their favourite bars.
Through the initiative, Budweiser aims at ensuring that bars and pubs remain financially strong and are able to quickly resume full operations as soon as the lockdown is fully lifted, and is co-opting loyal consumers, who are also willing to see their favourite relaxation joints remain in business, into a scheme that has rightly been described as ‘first-of-its-kind’ in the country.
The programme encourages loyal consumers to buy gift cards online from their favourite bars via the website: www.naijabarrescue.com for consumption on-premise at the end of the lockdown. This will not only make liquidity available to the bars during the lockdown but also assure the bar owners of the future of their businesses.
Beyond providing the idea, the technical platform and the administrative structure on which the scheme runs, Budweiser has made the commitment to match-up, one-to-one, whatever amount the consumer is spending on his or her gift card, and make the money available to the participating bars within 2 weeks. This means the bars actually get double the value of the gift card the consumer is buying, with Budweiser contributing exactly the same amount as the consumer is paying, as its own contribution to the sustenance of the bar in particular and the beer retail trade, in general.
The novel initiative cuts across the country as bars in various states and the FCT are registered on the platform and consumers are encouraged to recommend their favourite bars for inclusion in the scheme, where such bars are not already on the launch-out list.
Speaking on the initiative, Sandro De Assis, the Route-to-Market, Tech Sales and Trade Marketing Director of International Breweries Plc. assured Nigerian beer lovers of the company’s full commitment to the scheme and solicited their buy-in on the lofty ideal. He added that the technical platforms, as well as the administrative structure to manage the scheme, have been perfected and that the process is simple and very user-friendly. He enjoined consumers to visit www.naijabarrescue.com to start supporting their favourite bars to stay in business while COVID-19 lockdown subsists by buying the gift cards which are available in N1,500; N2,000; N4,000 and N9,000 denominations. The scheme, which has already started, will last until the lockdown in several parts of the country is fully lifted.
Also speaking on the initiative, Marketing Director, IB Plc, Tolulope Adedeji said the ‘Naija Bar Rescue’ initiative would not only help strengthen the loyalty of consumers to their favourite brands and bars but also help minimize the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the general economy of the nation.
“We hope, through the ‘Naija Bar Rescue’ project, our trade partners, I mean the bar owners, can heave a sigh of relief that the future of business for them is bright after all. This is a collective effort between us and the consumers to support the bars, pubs and restaurants. We will continue to do our best to ensure that their businesses come out stronger and better from the pandemic”, she said.