Adapting Your Café To The “New Normal”
Approximately 20% of the world’s population were under lockdown orders in March last year, leaving cafés with reduced footfall and less business as a result.
Out-of-home coffee consumption typically accounts for approximately 25% of total consumer demand. However, with 95% of coffee shops across the world remaining closed at the beginning of the pandemic, this figure plummeted along with customer footfall.
However, things are changing: more and more people are returning to offices and workspaces, and there is further encouragement from governments across the world to revitalise the hospitality sector. In many countries, cafés are starting to reopen, and the hope is that they can adapt to a variety of new health and safety measures.
The Impact of COVID-19 On Coffee Shops
At the beginning of lockdown in the UK alone, 70% of cafés that remained open had to reduce their hours of business and operate on a takeaway-only basis. Social distancing measures meant that human contact had to be as minimal as possible. Similar measures were taken elsewhere across Europe.
This accounted for an astounding 5,380% increase in the country’s sales of takeaway beverages, with a staggering 521% rise in the number of coffee shops who offered this service.
Payment methods have also changed. More than 25% of all cafés around the world stopped accepting cash by the end of April 2020, and many now encourage contactless card payments to minimise the spread of Covid-19. It is likely that this trend will continue into next year as the pandemic forces customers and businesses to move towards a cashless society.
Implementing Health & Safety Measures
So, aside from the mandatory requirements in your area, how else can you make customers and staff feel more secure?
To start, café owners can provide baristas with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and disposable gloves. Providing staff with equipment to defend against the virus is proven to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and can be a highly important measure in keeping them and others safe.
Installing protective screens in front of service areas, such as the register or beverage collection point, can also help prevent Covid-19 from spreading between staff and customers.
You should also encourage customers (except those who are exempt for health reasons) to wear masks while in the café. Placing posters on doors and by the register can remind visitors of the importance of bringing their mask; setting up hand sanitising stations near the doorway can also help to reduce the risk of contaminating surfaces.
Finally, design a one-way system for foot traffic around your café with social distancing measures in mind. This will help baristas manage the flow of people and mean that customers feel more comfortable. It will be especially helpful for keeping everyone safe during busier periods and “rushes”.
Maintaining Quality Service & Beverages
It can be difficult for staff and customers to adapt to the new health and safety measures, especially when human interaction is such a significant part of café culture.
However, there’s no reason for masks and screens to stop baristas from providing quality customer service and going the extra mile. Encourage staff to connect with consumers and create a welcoming atmosphere – positive body language and making eye contact help to engage customers in your coffee shop’s culture.
Encourage staff to converse more with customers when appropriate help create positive relationships. Make sure they know to confirm or double-check orders to remove any confusion or miscommunication.
Finally, serving good-quality beverages will be vital to keeping customers satisfied in these unprecedented times. Using the Eagle One’s easycream steam wand, Display Touch screen, and companion mobile app will allow the barista to produce high-quality espresso and espresso-based beverages time and time again. The time they save using these features will also allow them to focus more attention on the customer.
Investing In Equipment
Espresso machines typically take up a significant amount of counter space, leaving less room for other service essentials. The Eagle One is designed to be more compact – yet still just as functional and efficient – meaning less clutter to regularly sanitise and more space for takeaway cups or hand sanitising stations.
Equipment can also be a conversation starter for your customers. With the Eagle One’s easily customisable exterior – ranging from wooden to resin panels – you can easily tailor your espresso machine to suit your café’s brand.
Finally, the machine’s New Engine Optimisation and Temperature Energy Recovery System will help you save money on energy, while also reducing your coffee shop’s carbon footprint, showcasing your dedication to environmental sustainability.