There’s no denying the fact that the current Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the hospitality industry in India and the world. With government support running low and no clarity on when and how things will return to normal, the founders behind 30BestBarsIndia have created a new platform where bars can register and patrons can directly crowdfund its survival. 30BestBarsIndia was founded in 2019 to recognise, rank and award the best of Indian bars and bar professionals through a public poll with the event being held in October 2019 where Sidecar took away the top honour.
Called BarFuel, the crowdfunding initiative gives donors the option to support one bar or multiple bars of their choice directly by clicking the Donate Now button against the name and picture of each bar. 30BestBarsIndia does not retain any commission with the entire donated amount going directly to the bar that the consumer donates to. Since this a Covid-19 relief initiative, Razorpay has waived off the commissions charged by them on any contributions received.
Vikram Achanta, co-founder of 30BestBarsIndia, “BarFuel is a great platform created at a very important time to support patrons’ favourite bars. In our opinion, bars that have actively focused on building their fan base and will find their community coming back to support them.”
Achanta told Gurgl that his team looked at some models in the US and other countries before coming up with BarFuel. It’s been a month since it went from idea to execution and today the platform has over 50 bars registered on the platform with more being added every other day. Some of these bars include Olive Bar & Kitchen in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore, Toast & Tonic in Mumbai and Bangalore, Monkey Bar in Delhi and Kolkata, Fatty Bao in Mumbai and Bangalore, Sidecar in Delhi, Together at 12th in Gurgaon, Perch, The Little Easy and Leaping Windows in Mumbai, and The Grid in Kolkata among others.
In an encouraging sign, the platform has already collected more than INR 5 lakh so far from individual owners and with more established names joining the initiative, the numbers are only going to go up. It is also competing against more established platforms set up by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). However, Achanta said that since they’re a larger organisation, sometimes their decision-making could be slower.
While the government recently unveiled an INR 20 lakh crore package aimed at reviving the economy, most of it was clouded in secrecy as to how it’ll be dispensed. Most surprisingly, there was no mention of any help for the tourism and restaurant sector. Achanta said it was “quite shocking” that there was nothing for the F&B industry in the government’s support package. “It seems that the hospitality industry only exists to squeeze as much as possible from the excise and tax industry without thinking about their survival at this time,” he said.
Given this apathetic attitude from the government and a call to be ‘aatmanirbhar’, initiatives like BarFuel are a much-needed respite for bar owners who may be looking at new ways of looking for some much-needed cash flow. Bar owners and bar lovers, it’s time to converge together at BarFuel and look ahead to happier days by supporting your favourite bar today. You’ll find all the details here.
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Priyanko Sarkar is the Founder Editor of Gurgl.in. He has been a writer for over 15 years and this site is his attempt to document India's growing beverage sector with impactful and interesting stories. His favourite drink is Vietnamese Coffee and his favourite spirit is Turkish Raki.