Christmas comes early for Asahi Breweries employees.
Times have been a bit tricky in Japan lately as a pandemic-weary economy struggles with inflation and the prices of everything from PlayStations to puffed corn snacks see significant increases.
It’s certainly not the economic landscape that makes people want to go out and spend money like water painting the city red. But at least Asahi Breweries employees are about to have some fun as the company announced it will pay an additional 30,000 yen ($216) to December payroll for approximately 3,200 registered employees.
This bonus is referred to as “eating out money” and serves two purposes: to reward employees who helped the company survive the difficult period of the pandemic, and to support the entire restaurant industry, in which Asahi Breweries has a vital interest in maintaining financial liquidity.
Beer sales in restaurants have been recovering recently, with an increase of around 50 percent from January to October this year compared to the same period last year. However, the current economic woes are still a threat, and providing additional economic stimulus by allowing workers to have a little fun seems like a good solution.
▼ Like their canned draft beer, Asahi is filled with kindness
It should also be noted that this is “eating out” money in name only. Asahi gives away money in the hope that it will be used in restaurants, but there is no limit to how employees can use it.
This is all the more daring given that previous attempts by the Japanese government to boost the paycheck economy have not been entirely successful. When they gave away 100,000 yen at the height of the pandemic, consumer spending fell by almost five percent, suggesting that much of the money went straight to people’s bank accounts.
Subsequent attempts involved disclaimers such as gift certificates that had to be redeemed before a certain date or age restriction. However, unlike the government, Asahi’s blank check approach may work as employees are likely to feel a more personal connection and may be more willing to at least spend some of their money at the restaurant simply out of gratitude.
In response to this message, a Twitter user conducted an informal poll asking, “If you were an Asahi employee, how would you spend the money?” The four choices were: go out to eat, spend on hobbies, spend on everyday life, and put it in the bank.
— める🍅 (@melltomato) November 22, 2022
At the time of writing, with over 38,000 votes cast, “go out” was the number one answer. “Spend it on a hobby” was in second place, but since beer affects many hobbies, it probably wouldn’t be a total loss for Asahi either.
Regardless, the move is already paying off in goodwill, judging by comments online:
“Getting an extra 30,000 yen at the end of the year is the best. Good for Asahi.
“If a family of four goes out to eat, that money won’t last long. But everything helps, so thank you!”
“It would be nice if the government were so generous and gave the money without any conditions.”
“I wonder if it will work. I think it would be more efficient to give them back the proceeds.”
“It’s great for the restaurant staff who work hard there.”
“Wow, they don’t even care if employees go out and drink a different brand of beer.”
“Great! Asahi is amazing.
“I want other companies to do it! Great job Asha!”
“Cash with no strings attached is what employees need most these days. I appreciate the “employee first” approach.
All things considered, if I had to choose between Asahi or a similar brand, I’d choose a beer that I know treats its employees well. Therefore, when it comes to Japanese news, it is worth choosing the only service whose boss gives out bonuses in a few kilos of one yen coins.
Source: Shokuhin Shimbun, Asahi Breweries, Twitter, Asia Nikkei
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