Calcalist exclusive: Strauss Water is opening yet another front in the battle over Israel's bottled water market against mineral water producers Mey Eden, the Central Bottling Company (which markets Neviot mineral water) and Tempo (which markets San Pellegrino and Sam Benedetto mineral water).
Strauss plans to offer restaurants the possibility of serving free water to customers in pitchers bearing the company's brand, as part of an effort to reach more restaurant goers and boost the sales of its Tami 4 water filter systems. In return, the eateries must stop offering bottled waters on their menu.
Strauss already finalized such agreement with one Tel Aviv restaurant, which no longer offers bottled mineral water. In line with the agreement, Strauss now pays the owners a premium for exclusivity.
The value of Israel's mineral water market is estimated at one billion shekels (roughly $270 million), with restaurants, cafes and catering companies comprising 38% of that figure. Mineral water sales make up an average 0.7%-2% of restaurant sales.
The restaurant industry is skeptical regarding the move's success prospects, as the removal of bottled water from menus would cut into gross earnings. Some restaurateurs say that diners would not be inclined to give up bottled mineral water.
Strauss is highly involved in the restaurant business and owns the Elite Coffee and Max Brenner café chains.