How Burrow Bar is raising funds for Melbourne’s hospo workers
It’s common to hear ‘would you like fries with that?’ in the fast food world. Fries are a typical upsell and perfect complement to a fast food meal.
Now, Sydney’s Burrow Bar has riffed off that idea with the greatest addition to your bar order – mini spirit bottles – and it’s all for a great cause.
After seeing the devastation that industry colleagues and friends were experiencing in Melbourne, the team behind Burrow Bar began thinking of some way they could help. The outcome is asking customers ‘would you like minis with that?’, allowing people to add a mini to their purchase as part of the bar’s Glass Half Full initiative.
The proceeds from mini sales goes to COVID-19 EAD, an organisation created by Melbourne industry legends that has been supporting struggling fellow hospo workers by providing meals and care packs free of charge. To date the charity has served up over 35,000 meals, raised over $100,000 and been an invaluable lifeline for those who are ineligible for Government support.
Burrow Bar staff are also donating all their tips to COVID-19 EAD until the Melbourne industry can reopen, with this amount being matched by an unnamed ‘patron saint of the bar’ with their own donation.
Co-owners of Burrow Bar, Chau Tran and Bryce McDonough, spoke to Bars and Clubs about the ideas behind the minis concept.
“If there’s anything the last seven months has taught us, it is that the strength in our friendship, emotional and mental wellbeing will allow us to weather any storm. That this battle is better fought together. That often we might not feel it in the moment, but the glass is really half full,” Tran and McDonough said.
“This idea started as two ideas that managed to be born separately and also find perfect harmony together at exactly the same time. We had been working on an idea to create merch which we could sell to raise funds for COVID-19 EAD and the team had been talking about donating their tips too.
“Everyone at Burrow Bar had individually felt the pain and sadness acutely when we heard about Melbourne. We saw our friends via social media and calls all go into what we thought would be the unthinkable so very quickly: a second lock-down.”
The move to sell the minis was one that was pulled together quickly, and the team worked down the wire before last Friday’s service to get everything ready. The minis, which so far include Bushmills and Jack Daniels, were donated by the brands, and the Glass Half Full logo was created on donated time by artist Josie Bober.
Tran and McDonough said: “The ‘branding’ is very different to the look and feel of Burrow Bar. We really wanted to focus on what the core of what this was and not look like a promotion by Burrow Bar, but very much a fundraising initiative that could (and hopefully will) find a home any and everywhere.
“It was about our Victorian brethren, our hospos all over that are and have been doing it tough and the people in utterly selfless positions that thought of others first when it all started to go swiftly down hill. We are super proud to work with such a selfless team and owe them a beer or two for their generosity and motivation to do good things, but at the end of the day it is most important to see the core message – let’s get through this together.”
With the quick turnaround before the first night of minis, there hadn’t been much promotion or ramping up on social media. But nevertheless, the outcome of that first night and ever since has been extremely positive – 61 minis were sold on the first night alone, amounting to over $500 worth of donation for the COVID-19 EAD cause.
But this is just the beginning and Burrow Bar are keen to keep momentum going, keep donations coming for Melbourne and keep asking ‘would you like minis with that?’
For those looking to get behind the initiative, the message from Tran and McDonough is to contribute directly to the COVID-19 EAD GoFundMe and also: “Buy a mini, send a mini to a friend. If you are brand side and can part with some minis, please get in touch.
“We want to keep this going for as long as we can and the only way to do so is through stock. We kicked off with around 250 minis and at this rate will run out in about 2 weeks. Brands – give us a call!”
“The support so far in getting it up and running has been wonderful. The two brands who donated stock for the launch were so generous and supportive, the artist who created the amazing Glass Half Full logo gave us so much of their time, and the team have all been in up to the hilt from day one. Keep an eye out for more brands, collect them all, buy many and buy often, and come get some merch when we make it happen.”
Because as Chau and McDonough said: “We will get through this, but the way we get through this is together. Check in on friends, check in often. Our venues may be half full but it is better than empty.”