Times are a little tough in Japan recently, as a pandemic-fatigued economy struggles with inflation and prices of everything from PlayStations to puffed corn snacks experience significant hikes.
It’s certainly not the economic landscape that makes people want to go out and spend money like water while painting the town red. But at least the employees of Asahi Breweries are set to have a little fun as the company announced they will pay an additional 30,000 yen to the December paychecks of its some 3,200 registered employees.
This bonus is designated as “eating-out support money” and serves the dual purpose of rewarding employees who helped the company navigate the difficult pandemic period and supporting the restaurant industry as a whole, which Asahi Breweries has a vested interest in keeping financially afloat.
Beer sales at restaurants have been on a recovery as of late and increased about 50 percent from January to October of this year compared to the same period last year. However, the current economic woes remain a threat, and providing an additional economic stimulus by letting its workers have a little fun seems like a good option.
It’s also important to note that this is “eating-out” money in name only. Asahi is doling out the money in the hopes that it gets used at restaurants, but there are no restrictions on how the employees can use it.
This is especially bold as previous attempts by the Japanese government to stimulate the economy with payouts didn’t quite work out. When they gave out 100,000 yen during the height of the pandemic, consumer spending went down by nearly five percent, suggesting that a good deal of the money just went straight into people’s bank accounts.
Subsequent attempts involved caveats such as gift certificates that had to be redeemed by a certain date or age restrictions. However, unlike with the government, Asahi’s blank-check approach might work out since employees will likely feel a more personal connection and may be more inclined to at least spend some of the money at a restaurant simply out of appreciation.
In response to the news, a Twitter user held an informal survey asking: “If you were an Asahi employee, how would you spend the money?” The four options were: go out to eat, spend it on hobbies, spend it on daily life, and put it in the bank.
As of this writing, with well over 38,000 votes cast, “go out to eat” was the number one answer. “Spend it on hobbies” was a close second, but since beer does factor into a number of hobbies, that 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 anything helps, so thank you!”
“It would be nice if the government would be so generous to give money without any conditions.”
“I wonder if this would work. I think it would be more effective to reimburse their receipts.”
“That’s great for the restaurant staff out there working hard too.”
“Wow, they don’t even care if the employees go out and drink another brand of beer.”
“Great! Asahi is awesome.”
“I want other companies to do this! Great job, Asahi!”
“Cash with no strings attached is what employees need the most these days. I appreciate the ’employee first’ attitude.”
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