Being a Coffee Shop Customer (in the new normal) July 03 2020

This weekend many of our customers will be opening their doors to customers for the first time since late March. While it is a welcome relief to us all it is also going to be a worrying and challenging time. Somehow they will have to adhere to social distancing rules, protect the welfare of customers and staff, and generate a profit while at the same time delivering a high level of service. We are all aware that visitors are about to flood into our region, but we don’t yet know how willing they will be to enter hospitality premises and the level of disposable income they will have.

This week we’ve seen first hand the immense efforts being made by our coffee shops to allow them to reopen. It’s all been at an additional cost but there is an obvious determination to get up and running. If we are to help our coffee shops through the coming months, we need to think about the type of customer we want to be. There are some small steps we can all take in the coming weeks and months to ensure our favourite coffee shop remains profitable.

One of the biggest issues facing coffee shops is the reduced capacity. We have all seen images of tables and chairs being put into storage and tape measures being deployed to ensure distances are maintained. Less chairs equals less income and this is going to be particularly relevant at key points in the day; the times when we all descend en masse for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. These are the times when coffee shops make their money, when income exceeds costs and which allows them to trade through the quieter periods. In light of this here’s our thoughts on being a coffee shop customer in the new normal

1.Use independent coffee shops

If you do choose to head out and about in the coming weeks then make a commitment to choose independent rather than larger chains. The money you spend is more like to stay in the local community and generate additional spends.

2. Consider a takeaway option

If all you want is a drink, then perhaps consider takeaway rather than taking up a table. In that way you’ll be freeing up table space for larger transactions

3. Sitting In? Make sure you spend more!

If you want to sit in then make sure you up your spend. At least go for the cake option! Even better have lunch, some hot drinks and a slice of cake.

4. Watch where you sit

It’s likely that the new norm is going to mean you need to wait to be seated. if this isn’t the case try to be considerate about the table you choose. For example, if you are a couple avoid sitting at a table which could seat more. Asking customers to share tables is not going to be an option in the coming weeks so two people sitting at a table for four is going to reduce potential revenue even further.

5. Be mindful of time

Historically coffee shops have been places to kick back and relax, perhaps to browse the web or read a book. In the short term this has to change. Try to be mindful of how long you linger after finishing your food or drinks. The quicker you leave the more chance there is of making more money from your vacant seats.

6. Something for the road? Why not!

Just before you leave why not grab something to take away? Another coffee maybe? Or some slices of cake to enjoy later? Some coffee shops also have a retail offering so perhaps grab a bag of beans to enjoy at home. These additional spends at the end of a visit will be a huge positive gesture on your part and you get to enjoy some great product later on!

Our coffee shops will be walking a fine line between making you feel welcome, providing the best possible service and maximising revenue. As Government support lessens in the coming months the livelihoods of the owners and the jobs of the staff are going to be on the line. We can all play a small part by adapting our habits to give our coffee shops the best opportunity to succeed.