The restaurant industry in India is reeling under the impact of COVID-19 and is trying its level best keep its head above water. In this endeavour, Diageo India, one of India’s biggest beverage alcohol company, has launched Rs 75 crore-programme to support bars, pubs and restaurants in India.
“The revival of this sector is vital to the economy and to the success of our business. ‘Raising the Bar’ is our commitment to qualifying pubs, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. This support extends to providing enhanced safety measures when they resume operations so that their business and employment can revive, enabling our consumers to feel confident once again to socialise and lead normal lives,” Anand Kripalu, Managing Director & CEO, Diageo India said. According to a report by recent Pahle India Foundation, a not for profit policy think tank, the Indian restaurant industry is the third largest in the service segment, contributing over 2.1 per cent to the GDP. The industry valued at Rs 30 billion is projected to grow at 10 per cent CAGR to Rs 50 billion by 2021. The sector contributes almost Rs 24 billion to the government exchequer and employs 7.2 million people.
‘Raising The Bar’ programme is part of Diageo’s, parent company to brands such as Johnnie Walker whiskey, Ketel One vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Tanqueray gin, two-year long initiative to support the F&B industry across the world. A total of USD 100 million has been earmarked, globally, for this programme. In India, the programme will be owned and led by Black Dog, Diageo India’s locally blended Scotch whisky. While cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, etc., are going to be the cities in focus, but other restaurants and bars in non-metros can also benefit from the programme. “We are open to reaching out to the whole F&B industry as long as they have a licensed and functional bar programme, irrespective of them being Diageo clients or not,” informs Shweta Jain, Vice President, Luxury Commercial at Diageo India.
While restaurant operations in India have not received the go ahead for dine-in operations, this time is being dedicated by the Diageo team to spread the word about Raising The Bar programme. Some of the inclusions in the programme are hygiene kits’ with high-quality permanent sanitiser dispensers, medical grade hand sanitiser and a range of personal protection equipment (such as masks and gloves); assistance in establishing partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems; mobile bars and outdoor equipment. Jain clarifies that the back-end partnerships to help Diageo provide bars with this equipment are work-in-progress. Apart from this skill development, training and best practices resources will also be available to these restaurants and bars.
For a bar to be eligible for this programme, the F&B establishment has to be registered as a legal entity; must have been operating for a minimum period of 12 months before the introduction of national or local lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 affecting its operations and must have an alcohol license. The restaurant and bar also has to demonstrate at least one way in which they are or are planning to ‘Raise the Bar’ in their community. This could range from propagating an inclusive workspace, promoting positive drinking and tackling anti-social behavior; and focusing on sustainability. “India’s F&B sector already has initiatives that cover these areas of social welfare, whether it is employment generation or sustainability,” says Jain. They need to share this narrative in their registrations, she adds. Outlets can register their interest for the Raising The Bar programme on www.diageobaracademy.com.
Raising The Bar programme took shape after the beverage company conducted a global survey of bar owners. The key areas of concerns include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment and training to transform how their outlets will work when they reopen.