Labatt is first past the ‘POST’

The brewer is a founding partner of "People Outside Safely Together," a program to bring consumers back to restaurants and bars.

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Labatt Breweries of Canada is looking to restore public trust among those who plan to patronize bars and restaurants as they gradually reopen by becoming the founding corporate partner of the newly launched POST (People Outside Safely Together) Promise.

The POST Promise is a declaration that businesses make through highly visible signage throughout their restaurant or bar to uphold five key steps identified to help create a safe workplace for employees and consumers, including social distancing, sanitization, self-isolation, disinfection and “respiratory etiquette,” such as covering one’s mouth when you cough. It also includes training and education resources for staff on how to uphold the standards.

Program partners include the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Restaurants Canada.

Kyle Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada, acknowledges how much the beer and alcohol industries has been impacted by COVID-19, and supporting POST will help “instil confidence in customers and employees as Canada begins to reopen.”

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One of the main ways Labatt will be supporting the initiative is through supporting marketing efforts. In addition to efforts that are being managed by POST through its agency, Salt Marketing, Labatt’s in-house agency Draftline is playing what Norrington calls a “critical role in our brand marketing initiatives,” which will include its own social channels. It will also provide employees and its own sales teams with POST promise toolkits to distribute at points of contact, as has been participating in Restaurants Canada webinars to educate members.

The initiative extends the support Labatt is currently providing to restaurants and Food Banks Canada through its donations of hand sanitizer and brand-led initiatives like Stella Artois’ Rally for Restaurants campaign, a gift card program that provides local establishments with immediate financial relief. Norrington tells strategy Stella Artois campaign has had more than 1,000 restaurants sign on and that the brand has sold over 11,000 gift cards with all of those proceeds going immediately and directly back to those restaurants.

Labatt is the Canadian subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, which recently reported that April sales fell 32% from the previous year. According to AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito, on-premise channels (including bars, restaurants and breweries) represented approximately one-third of its global volume pre-pandemic.

On Friday, bars and restaurants in Ontario will be allowed to re-open dine-in service on patios, outside of heavily impacted areas of the province, such as the Greater Toronto Area, and amended the Liquor License Act to make it easier for them to extend their patios (there is no date set for indoor service to resume). It also eased restrictions on alcohol prices as a measure to help hospitality sector workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. On Monday, restaurants in Quebec will be allowed to reopen dine-in service (June 22 for those in Montreal), though no date has been set for bars.

Restaurants and bars in British Columbia and Alberta have been operating since May, and both had capacity limitations lifted this week.