'Helpy hour': 1 drink for the price of 2 to support cafes

'Helpy hour': 1 drink for the price of 2 to support cafes
Credit: Connor Ki (CC-SA BY 4.0)

The Federation for Cafes in Belgium, Fedcaf, is launching a "helpy hour" campaign, in which clients will pay for two drinks but only get one, to support the cafes after the lockdown.

The federation has reversed the "happy hour" principle, in which cafes give clients two drinks for the price of one. "A simple but powerful gesture to get bar owners back on their feet," the federation said.

From Monday 8 June, cafes, bars and restaurants can reopen again, after a period of about three months in which they were forced to close because of the lockdown.

"For years, customers have been pampered with happy hour. Now, we are going to try to do the opposite with helpy hour, to help the cafes keep their head above the water," said Diane Delen, the president of the Federation. "It is temporary, but we want to avoid an avalanche of bankruptcies. And when everything gets back to normal, the customer will be happy, because happy hours will return," she added.

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Unlike happy hour, which starts and end when the cafe-owner decides, "helpy hour" will be decided by the customer. Anyone can tell the bartender that they will pay double for their drink(s) whenever they want.

About one in three businesses in the hospitality sector face bankruptcy because of their forced closure. According to a study by business data expert Graydon, this number even approaches one in two businesses.

Additionally, even if the sector reopens on 8 June, 25% of hospitality businesses will continue to face serious problems, based on the hypothesis that their normal turnover will be halved up to the end of summer.

Posters to promote the Helpy Hour campaign will be distributed in over 9,000 cafes across the country.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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