Dear Café Owners and Customers,
We wanted to reach out to café owners and reassure you that the changes unfolding with the Coronavirus are not to be feared. Our climate is facing some obstacles but where there are challenges there is also growth. We believe that this isn’t a time to be concerned about business but curious about how to develop.
As a small business owner, we want to support our family, friends, and customers in any way that’s within our capabilities. We want to urge cafes to stay optimistic and encourage customers to support local businesses. We might face some challenges, but we will face these together.
Below we have information on how you can grow with the current climate. We have also sent a PDF checklist for cafes to follow to maintain cleanliness and safety.
For Cafe Owners,
Although there are questions as to whether the news programs have been a little sensationalist in updating the Coronavirus there does need to be preparation put in place if COVID-19 grows in Australia. We need to begin considering – how to prepare and what to do as both a small business owner and a customer.
March 12th, the Australian Government announced the Coronavirus Stimulus Package. If you’re a small to medium-sized business with an annual turnover under $50 million this Australian government package has been announced to offer cash flow assistance. This package will seek to help various aspects of owning a small business from paying tax, managing costs and looking after apprentices and trainees. The package will be investing $17.6 billion into helping small businesses.
Even though there are (somewhat) productive announcements from the government, skepticism still lingers on how beneficial these policies will be, how long they will last, and who they will leave out. Looking at the effects that the Coronavirus had on China’s cafes you can’t help but feel worried if customers stop their morning coffee routine. This is stirring anxiety amongst business owners however, there’s potential here to get creative and brainstorm ideas on how to cater towards the needs of consumers.
Social distancing is resulting in customers looking for other ways to fulfill their daily rituals. As business owners, it’s important to remember that customers aren’t stopping their buying habits but changing them. We need to highlight how we can offer our products and services in a way that caters to these new needs. Here are some ideas to reach out to the needs of customers.
This goes without saying but hygiene is incredibly important.
Ensure staff are washing their hands with soap at every opportunity. Use gloves if dealing with food. Ensure that customers have easy access to washing their hands. Regularly wipe surfaces to keep the space clean. Customers want to feel safe and considering our current climate the best way to feel safe is through cleanliness.
Many people are starting to avoid big spaces especially with the Australian ban on gatherings of more than 500 people. This will see an increase in selecting takeaway, purchasing in bulk instead of dining in and moving to online buying.
We offer online ordering on our website and an online subscription service. This allows for us to get coffee to customers without them leaving their home.
Have a look at your café and see what you can offer for customers who want to avoid public spaces. For example, increase takeaway options, offer special promotions that meet the customer’s needs, increase your online presence and/or work with local businesses to increase your customer reach.
Offer a variety of accessible options (physically and online) so customers can include your offerings into their lifestyle transition. Customers aren’t stopping their buying habits but are changing how they do it.
Get creative and see what you can come up with!
Work with other local businesses to organise promotions. Work together to expand your customer reach. Make sure to advertise through social media and do a mailbox drop of pamphlets advertising the promotion.
Customers want to feel safe and looked after. Communicate with your customers, promote your new hygiene measures (on social media, put a poster up in-house and verbally engage with customers and suppliers). Ask your customers to support by regularly cleaning their hands and offer facilities to make this easy for them.
Make sure your staff are looked after and encourage them to communicate if they have any concerns. If they’re feeling unwell support them to take time to rest. If you – as a business owner – are feeling unwell, make sure you support yourself and rest. It can be tempting to keep on working, to try and make more sales but, now is the time to take care of yourself to take of others.
Support your Community
It’s crucial that we support local businesses to keep them afloat. All small businesses rely on the buying habits of the local area to stay in business. If this community alters their buying habits then it greatly affects the local café, the butcher around the corner or your favourite small retailer. It’s important customers recognise their power as a consumer and, in turn, ensure to continue to buy from local businesses safely #supportlocal
If You’re Sick, Stay Home
All individuals need to take responsibility for their actions.
It only takes one person to spread the disease. Perhaps a young, fit and healthy individual might feel strong and unstoppable but someone with an autoimmune disease, the elderly or someone with asthma has to be more careful. It’s important we consider what effect our actions have on those around us.
We run barista courses and we would like to urge those interested in booking to reconsider if they’ve been overseas.
So, take care, maintain high levels of hygiene, recognise if you’re feeling unwell and respond accordingly.
Change = Growth
Where there is change there is potential for growth.
When businesses face hardship there will initially be a loss however, with perseverance and optimism businesses have the capabilities to change and grow with the climate. Stay hopeful, meet the needs of your customers and support your community.
As the government twiddles their thumbs on what the plan is moving forward, we need to hold strong and take the initiative to care for our business and each other.
From everyone here at Leaf Bean Machine, we’re remaining hopeful and are confident that if we support one another we’ll get through this.
We’re thinking of you,
The Leaf Bean Machine Team