As we start to recover from the pandemic and non-essential businesses begin to reopen, coffee shops will be preparing to welcome their customers once again. For more than a year, Covid-19 has disrupted the way in which businesses around the world operate. Coffee shops are no exception. Many remain closed; others have reopened with significant operational limitations.
But when the hospitality sector does open back up, there will be one key question for coffee shop owners to answer: how can you bring more customers through the door and recover to normal sales levels?
Planning ahead rather than waiting for your business to reopen will help you prepare for new and returning customers alike.
Myles says that he hopes that hospitality businesses are taking this time to reflect on what they’re good at, and recognising what else they can bring to their customers.
This could take shape in a number of ways. It might mean working on new menu items, hiring and training staff, or adapting your opening hours, for instance. The measures you take will be unique to your area and your coffee shop. The important thing is that you’re prepared.
Provide a quality experience
Visiting a café is about the experience as much as it is the coffee. This experience starts the moment you enter. Coffee shop owners should do everything they can to make sure their café appeals to each and every customer.
This might mean a great coffee that’s well-extracted, has good latte art, or better consistency.
One great way to focus on providing a quality experience is by using equipment like the Rancillio Classe 5 USB, a traditional espresso machine with modern and sophisticated side panels, ample group covers and an ergonomic working area.
Customer service is likely to be especially important once coffee shops reopen, and will help cafés differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
During lockdown we’ve missed a lot of social interaction, make proper time for customers. Share knowledge, have a chat, do more than the bare minimum.
Safety and hygiene
Part of providing a good experience will be making sure your customers feel safe and relaxed. Even after coffee shops have reopened and vaccines have been distributed, Covid-19 will likely be on people’s minds for a while.
This means that maintaining good hygiene and strict health safety protocols will still be crucial. It’s likely that our future day to day lives will be affected by the pandemic long after everything reopens.
This means that tables should still be spaced out properly, staff should keep wearing face masks or PPE, and social distancing and other hygiene protocols should still be encouraged. Following local guidance on the correct procedures will make customers feel more safe and comfortable in your coffee shop.
Take care of your equipment
Last but not least: take care of your equipment. Make sure it’s well-maintained and ready to run as soon as you’re open again. See our post on recommissioning your machine after a long break.
It’s particularly important to continually test any pieces of equipment that are connected to mains water, such as espresso machines and hot water taps.
In the weeks and months running up to the full reopening of hospitality businesses in your country, wherever you might be, use the time you have spare to plan. Think about what your customers will want. Get yourself ready to cater to them, and you’ll be in the best possible position to bring people back through your doors once the pandemic is over.