East African Breweries announces US$5m fund to support hospitality industry recovery

KENYA – The East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has launched a Sh532 million (US$5m) recovery fund aimed to help pubs and bars recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic when they resume operation.

The two-year programme dubbed “Raising the Bar” is part of the US$100 million (ksh10.6 billion) kitty announced by EABL’s parent company, Diageo that will be rolled out from July 2020 in different markets.

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“The fund is expected to support the recovery of major hospitality centres including New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond,” the firm noted.

EABL having operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has been hit by measures imposed to limit spread of coronavirus including closure of bars and nightclubs, prompting the firm to issue a profit warning for the year ending June.

The brewer has said its profit after tax for the year ending June was likely to decline by 25 percent compared to Ksh.11.5 billion (US$107.9m) net profits recorded in 2019.

“We want to support the long-term recovery of the hospitality sector as these businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis,” said Andrew Cowan, EABL CEO.

Diageo designed the “Raising the Bar” programme following a global survey of bar owners to identify what they need to reopen after lockdown.

Their top priorities include hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment to transform how their outlets will work.

According to the Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff brands owner, the programme will offer targeted support like purchasing equipment such as hygiene kits, permanent sanitiser dispenser units, hand sanitisers, masks and protection screens for bars that cannot maintain the one metre social distance.

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In addition it will offer digital skills training and development of contactless technology.

The registration for the programme was opened from 24 June 2020 at www.diageobaracademy.com website globally. However, participants seeking funding must meet some minimum requirements.

The restaurant must be registered as a legal entity or equivalent in each jurisdiction and have been operating for minimum period of 12 months before introduction of any national or local lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19.

It must also have a beer and/or spirits licence or equivalent and demonstrate at least one way in which they plan to “Raise the Bar” in their community.

Bar owners will receive regular updates on best practice training and resources and be able to participate in global surveys to share insights, as they build back their businesses.

Kenya is yet to issue a time line when bars will resume. In the UK, pubs, and restaurants are among the venues which will be allowed to reopen from July 4, reports Business Daily.

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