Around the country COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased and on-premise venues are beginning to slow reopening process, which is seeing suppliers put support plans into place.

Asahi Premium Beverages has developed the Open Arms Program which aims to support customers through the uncertainty of the COVID-era and the ever-changing landscape on-premise venues are now operating in.

The Open Arms Program is backed by $1m to fund a series of support initiatives designed to help venues reopen, recover and regrow.

“Our number one goal in all of this mayhem is to ensure our actions and efforts, as a partner to the industry, are resolute in making life easier in some small way for our valued customers,” said John Kelly, Asahi’s National On-Premise Group Business Manager.

The program has four key pillars to help venues:

  • Driving consumer awareness
  • Technical and sales support
  • Cash flow and credit
  • Payment plan options

In terms of driving awareness, Kelly said: “A critical component of reopening is getting the message out to consumers that venues are in fact open. With each state lifting restrictions at different stages, and with varying levels of constraints, we know social media will play a critical role in getting the message out to confused consumers.”

Asahi’s social media partner Tiger Pistol will use its expertise to help venues bring consumers back through communications using social media channels and detailing how venues will operate in this environment.

Additionally, when the lockdown happened, operators we advised on the importance of cleaning down properly and as they reopen, doing that safely is hugely important and Kelly explained how Asahi is using the Open Arms Program to help with this.

“Our technical teams are also assisting with the cleaning and recommissioning of equipment and our sales teams have been busily assisting with prioritising deliveries for initial openings,” he said.

“In addition to the above, the Open Arms Program includes a range of other initiatives including activation and stock support to assist with driving revenue.”

Asahi has also undertaken a series of measure to assist venues with cash flow, and Kelly added: “We know that with the sudden loss of revenue the last thing a business operator needs is a supplier banging on their door looking for payments while the survival of their business is under threat.

“Building on this, across the months of April and May, APB collected thousands of beer/cider kegs and post mix cases from venues that had to shut their doors with little warning. We provided full credits to all impacted customers.”

The program also sees Asahi give venues a number of payment plans which enable them to start trading again and generate cash flow, while being impacted with other reopen costs of re-stocking, re-training and deep cleaning.

Kelly urged operators to reach out to their local Asahi Premium Beverages contact to talk through the program and the different options available to successfully and safely reopen.

He said: “Underlying all this support is the need for empathy for each other; we may not get all of this right, but we will try our best and respond to changing customer needs as we embrace and reignite the hospitality community.

“We look forward to assisting our partners welcome back their guests to first class hospitality with open arms.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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