With the lockdown of restaurants and bars across India to maintain social distancing, several thousand members of the hospitality community have been severely affected financially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To overcome the effects of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, Beam Suntory India has voluntarily stepped up to partner with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) to support the Rise for Bars initiative by pledging Rs 1 crore corpus to support the food and beverage community in India.

Separately, Pernod Ricard India in partnership with NRAI has agreed to pledge Rs 1.4 crore to support the welfare of distressed employees working behind the bars in NRAI Members' Restaurants.

National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI)
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) logo

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI tweeted earlier thanking Beam Suntory India and Pernod Ricard India for their voluntary contribution and support to 3,300 employees across NRAI member restaurants, who received a credit of Rs. 5,000 each deposited into their PayTM accounts, under the Rise for Bars initiative. Of the total Rs 2.4 crore funding support received by NRAI from its partners, Rs. 1 crore 65 lakh has been disbursed by the restaurant body to support the welfare of 3,300 employees across NRAI member restaurants.

Commenting on the funding support from partners, Katriar clarified, "We have a commitment of Rs 2.40 crores, but the money is coming in trenches. We have received Rs 1.70 crore thus far and distributed most of it. We will keep disbursing as the monies come."

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI tweets thanking Beam Suntory India and Pernod Ricard IndiaTwitter.com

All about the Rise for Bars Initiative by NRAI

The spirit company, Beam Suntory India is committed to supporting bartenders and other frontline members of the F&B community in these difficult times. It is utilizing The Blend, it's global bartender engagement program, to directly reach out and support the bartender community in India. The company has launched a 'learn and earn' program to encourage bartenders to utilize their time at home effectively by taking up online training modules.

Reading material and virtual engagement modules have been made available online, where bartenders can continue to be safe at home and enhance their knowledge and skills. To make the learning experience rewarding, online programs are hosted every day, spread across 50 sessions, with prizes for the participants.

Speaking about this initiative, Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, CEO & Executive Director of deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd said, "I sincerely thank Beam Suntory India and for their thoughtful gesture towards our industry during these difficult times. This gesture will further cement the relationship between the F&B Fraternity and Beam Suntory India. The corpus will enable NRAI to extend helping hand to its members and their employees in times of such an unprecedented crisis."

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, CEO & Executive Director of deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd
Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, CEO & Executive Director of deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd

Katriar further added, "The generous contribution by Pernod Ricard India adds significant heft to the NRAI Rise For Bars Corpus and will help us provide immediate and long-term relief to the bar employees in need during the most challenging times that we face." He sincerely hopes that other major stakeholders in the F&B ecosystem will follow this graceful example set by Beam Suntory and Pernod Ricard India.

Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director, Beam Suntory India, said, "The global pandemic has threatened the survival of many businesses, especially the F&B industry, at a time when it was emerging strongly in India. Although we are confident that the industry will rebuild and continue to thrive after this crisis, the current economic anxiety is spilling over to thousands of dedicated professionals who have passionately supported the industry with their talent. Through these initiatives, we want to give back to our partners in the F&B community. They are our greatest champions and we want to support them in these difficult times. These initiatives are central to our business and fundamental to our 'Growing for Good' values."

Rajesh Mishra, Chief Financial officer, Pernod Ricard India said, "The COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted our partners in the F&B Industry, leaving a deep impact on the livelihoods of the multitude of the workforce employed. I am very proud of the efforts by NRAI and our partnership with them is a sincere effort to support the member restaurants and employees, come out of this crisis."

NRAI's efforts to save the restaurant industry amid Covid-19 crisis

Considering the restaurant industry that directly employs over 70 lakh people with an annual turnover of around Rs 4 lakh crore is fighting a battle for survival, NRAI had earlier launched the ''Rise For Restaurants'' program to support its member restaurants and their employees amid the COVID-19 crisis.

People dining at a restaurant
People dining at a restaurantPixabay

Some of the restaurants participating in this initiative included Barbeque Nation, Cafe Delhi Heights, Carl''s Jr, Desi Vibes, Farzi Cafe, Monkey Bar, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Punjab Grill, The Beer Cafe, and Zen, among others.

Under the ''Rise For Restaurants'' program customers can buy vouchers worth Rs 1,000 at a flat 25 percent discount from the list of its restaurants across India, and redeem it in the future against dining bills at the respective restaurant.

During the time of purchase of the vouchers, customers will have to pay only Rs 250, which will be a small initial contribution towards paying the wages and salaries of restaurant employees. The remaining Rs 500 has to be paid by the customers only when they dine at the restaurant, according to a statement by the restaurant association.

"The NRAI has developed this programme keeping in mind the current plight of its members and their employees. Yet, unlike any other platform offering gift vouchers, etc, this is the only program which recognizes the concern that customers may have regarding the future recovery of restaurants and therefore, only requests 25 percent of the virtual cash value upfront," said NRAI Managing Committee Member Gauri Devidayal.

To stay afloat during the Covid-19 times, Anurag Katriar suggests the F&B industry and restaurants to, "Re-imagine their business, recast their business model, cut down on expenses as much as possible, look at the digital economy, become asset-light and low-risk."