COVID-19 has forced a lot of small businesses to close their doors, with the hospitality industry hard hit. Owning a coffee shop in a business district when no one is going to work, is a tough gig. You probably paid a premium for your location, and it’s not returning near enough to stay open anymore.

Keeping your coffee shop alive in these times is harder than ever. Those who can adapt, change, and work with these struggles, will ultimately come out of COVID-19 with a much stronger business; you’ll have shown you are a master of budgeting, marketing, and customer retention; taking the necessary steps to stay open will pay off long after any crisis.

How to keep your coffee business running through a crisis

  1. Offer takeaway or delivery services – investigate instant online ordering services such as Bopple, Joe, Cloosiv, HeyYou; this will allow you to take orders quickly and focus on doing what you do best; making great coffee and smiling at your customers
  2. Keep your customers engaged on social media – do your customers know you’re still open? Post regular updates about what your business is doing, engage the customers who do come in, and generally let them know that they’re welcome and you want them to come to you
  3. Collect reviews – make sure your business is published on Google My Business and business directories, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and niche coffee directories like ‘brewstr‘. Once you’re listed, encourage your regulars to leave a review.
  4. Run coffee brewing webinars with Zoom! – your customers are probably cooped up at home with rubbish coffee – show them how to make great coffee at home using your products, and invite them to ask questions
  5. Pay your employees – look at government grants and what your business is entitled too; if you love your team and your customers love them too, fight to keep them; they have to pay their rent too and you’ll be better off if you can keep the staff who help your business remain successful; make sure they know how much they mean to you and the business and ensure a fair deal is being done
  6. Go over your budget and go lean on your expenses – are there any unnecessary expenses you can cut out from your business? Have you cancelled all non-essential regular deliveries? Are you reducing wastage of products?
  7. Stocktake and clear out retail stock – help your customers get caffeinated at home by offering your existing stock of coffee beans and coffee equipment at discounted prices; it’s not making money sitting on the shelf if you have no customers, so market to your social following, or think about renting equipment out
  8. Offer discounted gift cards – this equates to cash for your business; whilst it remains a liability until the gift card is used, the influx of cash now could help you stay afloat, so you can focus on tomorrow; as they say, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

Whilst you can implement any of these methods and more, it’s advisable not to put all of your eggs in one basket; simply implementing one of these ideas won’t keep your business alive; you will need to use your business prowess, negotiate and drive efficiencies, and be innovative. If you can come up with and implement other ideas, you’ll be able to get through this. Keep at it and keep your customers engaged throughout the journey.

If you need a hand with implementing any of these steps, or would like a free consultation on how to optimise your coffee business, reach out to [email protected]

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