The Bundaberg Rum ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative – a $11.5 million support package aimed at helping the hospitality industry recover from COVID-19 – has been officially launched by Diageo Australia.
The event was held at the ArtHouse Hotel in Sydney CBD, which is one of the approved applicants for the first stage of the Raising the Bar initiative.
More than 150 venues across NSW have already received ‘Bear Cares Safety packages’ worth $1250, providing supplies of hand sanitiser, dispensers, floor demarcations, thermal scanners and PPE.
Raising the Bar has been established to directly support jobs, recovery, and innovation in the Australian hospitality industry.
Angus McPherson, Managing Director at Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia, said: “Bundaberg Rum is proud to be supporting NSW hospitality venues to get back on their feet after such a challenging period. This industry is vitally important to this state’s economy, providing tens of thousands of jobs, as well as a
sense of community.
“The Raising the Bar initiative won’t just instil confidence in patrons but will also help ease the ongoing financial burden of purchasing costly safety equipment and supplies such as hand sanitiser and PPE.”
McPherson said that Bundaberg Rum customers have become friends over the years, with the support package being about helping them “get back on their feet”. However, he noted that businesses didn’t need to stock Bundaberg Rum to be eligible for support.
New government measures to help venues thrive
NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said: “The NSW Government is committed to seeing a thriving 24-hour economy and our state’s pubs, clubs and bars play a critical role in this.
“The Raising the Bar fund is an important initiative to help Australia’s hospitality venues recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic in a COVID-safe way.”
He also noted that the NSW Government’s al fresco dining pilot had been successful in slashing red tape for gaining an outdoor licence down from seven weeks to three days. It has led to 19 pubs, cafes and restaurants in The Rocks to expand onto footpaths and into the street, serving up to an additional 1000 customers.
“Foot traffic has increased by 45%, while sales are up 25% in the area,” he revealed. “A second Darling Harbour pilot area opens on Friday and we are expecting similar results.
“Al fresco is here to stay and I’m going to make sure we lock in the new regulations – they will be more important than ever when overseas tourists return to Sydney.”
Support package for the “beating hearts of our communities”
NSW AHA deputy chief executive Sean Morrissey said the gesture by Diageo “won’t be forgotten”.
“2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for our 2000 members, many of which are the beating hearts of their regional and suburban communities,” he added.
“Bundaberg Rum’s Raising the Bar initiative is providing some welcome relief and a real cost-saving to many NSW hotels, helping them to get back to business and begin the journey of recovery.”
Deputy Event Manager at the ArtHouse Hotel, Josh Pages (above), said the support package was a game changer for pubs during a devastating year.
“In my nine years in the industry I never thought I would see something so generous happen in the same year as something so terrible,” he explained.
“Having Diageo provide all this equipment to help us create a COVID-safe environment for both our staff and patrons is humbling – thank you.”
Pictured main: Angus McPherson, Victor Dominello and Sean Morrissey.