Kingfisher to launch Pitchers app to answer all nightlife queries


MUMBAI: Acknowledging the power of digital, United Beverage's flagship alcobev brand Kingfisher is all set to launch an aggregator cum classified app targeting urban nightlife. The beverage giant couldn’t have come up with a better name than 'Pitchers', hence giving a recall  to its brand association with TVF’s popular web series ‘Pitchers’ which had Kingfisher as sponsors.

While addressing a summit at Goafest 2016, United Beverages Limited marketing SVP Samar Singh Sheikhawat announced the app, “Our consumers are constantly on the lookout for fun exciting nightlife destinations, and often that information is not curated and presented to them in a sensible manner. This app will be a one stop shop for them for any night life related queries -- it could be about pubs, clubs, a fancy eating joint or places with live gigs.”

Expected to be available at the Google Play store within the next five days with a soft launch in Bengaluru, Sheikhawat shared that the app would compete with the likes of Zomato and Foodpanda, with focus on nightlife being its key differentiating factor. Sheikhawat revealed that Kingfisher was eyeing Delhi and Mumbai next for the launch (in no particular order).

“The app will share the entire listing of all the restaurants and pubs, provided that they have a liquor license, unlike Zomato. It will answer frequently asked questions about ‘what is the dress code’, ‘what are the charges as couple, singles and stags, ‘will there be valet parking services or not’, ‘how long will the happy hours be’, ‘What is the music going to be like,’ and if ‘the place has an open smoking zone,” etc.

Since Pitchers would be a free app, Sheikhawat explained the revenue model, “We don’t need to make money out of this app. We are into the beer business. This is one of the many ways to reach out to our modern age digitally enabled consumer. We will definitely keep an eye out and see how it evolves into something that can be cashed later.”

Sheikhawat also shared that his company  is open to forming commercial deals with local F&B players, be it SMEs  or five star, who would like to be showcased on the platform. However, his short term goal is to create a buzz around the app’s utility amongst the company’s consumers. The brand would also ensure that the access to the app is age restricted due to the content that will be showcased on it.

Revealing the marketing and promotion details of  new app Sheikhawat said Kingfisher would be careful, “We want to launch the app, get user feedback,  fix bugs and explore possibilities and then market it to the masses based on our analytics of sometimes’ worth of use. We can create a song and dance around it anytime we want to, but we would rather iron out all issues before talking about Pitchers.”

With Vijay Mallya making recent headlines for all the wrong reasons, it was inevitable to ask how that affected brand Kingfisher and UBL in general. ”Throughout this time we haven't seen our shares take a dip. UBL is a completely different entity and a brand on its own. And with Heineken owning 44 per cent stake, we aren’t really worried," Sheikhawat clarified before signing off.

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