Belgium’s ‘Helpy Hour’ Aims to Boost Bar Sales

After more than two months of mandated closures due to COVID-19, a “Helpy Hour” is being promoted to boost bar sales.

We’re all familiar with the ‘buy two for the price of one’ deals that our favorite bars offer during happy hour. Well, how about the opposite?

In Belgium, where bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen Monday after more than two months of mandated closures due to COVID-19, a “Helpy Hour” is being promoted to boost bar sales out of the gate. Promoted by the Federation of Belgian cafes, Fedcaf, Helpy Hour urges patrons to buy one drink for the price of two.

Besides the opposite function of Happy Hour, the other main difference between it and Helpy Hour is that the latter has no start or end time of the day set by the bar or café owner. It’s up to the customer to decide if and when they want to pay double for a single drink.

Fedcaf’s president told the Belgium Times, “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. 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.”

Drinking establishments in Belgium could reopen Monday under major restrictions, including the need to space tables at least 1.5 meters apart and a maximum of 10 people per table. Customers are not allowed to order or drink from the bar, and waitstaff must wear face masks.

Fedcaf’s president told the AP that those measures will reduce attendance in bars by at least two-thirds, but they’re hopeful the promotion will help offset some of COVID-19’s business impacts.

The Brussels Times reported in mid-May that one in three of country’s bars and restaurant won’t reopen.

This isn’t the first time Belgians have been urged to help the food & beverage industry during the pandemic. In late April, we reported on how the country’s potato industry secretary general called upon Belgians to eat frozen fries twice per week to combat a large surplus of potatoes due to business lockdowns.
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