The Coronavirus disease pandemic has quickly impacted all areas of life, no matter what continent you inhabit. As a result of the widespread disease, we as humans have faced the necessity to socially distance ourselves from one another. This is problematic as it is generally against our evolutionary human nature to remove ourselves socially. To be human is to be social, with rituals and routines that form the social structure we run our daily lives with.
At the heart of our rituals is coffee, specifically the coffee shop. In most cultures, most of us have incorporated visiting the neighbourhood cafe into our daily routines. Some of us even visit multiple cafes throughout the day, in order to get their quota of conversation, culture, and caffeine.
It has become apparent to us, the culturally rich social environment of the cafe, will be avoided by many people in an attempt to protect those they love, who are vulnerable to the Coronavirus disease. While this act is a moral responsibility and essential in the pursuit of flattening the curve, small businesses, and more specifically, coffee shops will begin to suffer.
Within the coffee shop trade, many entrepreneurs have an abundance of passion and enthusiasm, but unfortunately a shortage of business knowledge, technical coffee skill and capital in order to purchase assets and maintain their operations.
For this reason the local cafe is at extreme risk during this COVID-19 illness, as many shops have a very tight marginal existence at best of times. Profits aren't extravagant to begin with and most of these coffee shop owners are first time entrepreneurs. Some even entertain the idea that opening a coffee shop can be easier, or cheaper than other types of small businesses. Now it may be true, that compared to opening a restaurant or bar, less start-up cost is required in opening a coffee shop due to less equipment investment, and less pressure to look like the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotels. However, as far as ‘easier ’ is concerned, there is nothing about coffee that exempts it from the perils that all other businesses face.
Ultimately, the artisan café can be at increased risk due to their lack of experience and education that is needed to sustain a business in the midst of a serious widespread illness. They must continue to monitor their cost of goods, labour, rent, utilities, liabilities, lawsuits, efficiencies, transaction speeds, competitive forces and customer service.
As a result, the small independent coffee shop owner will see their sales dwindle down to nothing while their operating costs continue. Leading to a trickle-down effect of mass layoffs and suppliers like bakers and food prep kitchens to be limited at large.
Fearfully, there is a real possibility that when we inevitably emerge from this period of quarantine, that our neighbourhood cafe will no longer be in business.
What Can You Do To Save Small Local Businesses ?
Rather than be saddened and depressed by this dark and dour prediction, let us instead think of what we can do to support our local independent coffee shops.
3 Quick Steps To Help Keep Small Cafes In Business
- Purchase your daily coffee fix online or through mobile phone apps. If your local shop isn't equipped to do this, by all means PHONE THEM AND TELL THEM TO GET SET UP! There are endless home delivery apps available now for the food service industry, such as (SkipTheDishes, Foodora, Uber Eats and DoorDash) that it will take just a matter of days, even hours for their shop to be able to keep you caffeinated and full of pastry in the comfort of your own home.
- Purchase gift certificates and show some financial support while you turn into a potato, watching Netflix. Of course this comes with some insolvency risk to you, so I would encourage you to ask the coffee shop owner about point number 1 if you plan on doing point number 2..
- Buy whole beans from your local coffee shop. If you haven’t been doing this already, now is the time to start. It’s a strange phenomena that customers who are loyal to a particular coffee shop for their daily latte or drip coffee, do NOT make it a habit of buying coffee beans from that same shop. So start doing this asap. Don’t buy from the roaster directly as this would bypass the coffee shop. Doing this will keep the gears turning in both the shop and roaster.
Of course this all means that you will have to *GASP* make your own coffee at home like a Barista ! I know this sounds daunting but you can do it. We will help!
If you stick with our series of articles we will educate you on some of the real facts about coffee, coffee making and we will do it all for free!
But wait, you say.... wouldn't teaching coffee shop customers to make their own coffee actually hurt coffee shops in the long term by teaching people to be barista-self sufficient? And, why would you give away lessons for free?
Teaching customers the truth about coffee and how to make it will not lead to mass defections from coffee culture, because we are social creatures. We will still meet at coffee shops, even if we become part of the coffee enlightened. This argument is pointless anyways, because it is like saying “ oh.. don't teach people how to cook because they will stop going to restaurants.” When in fact the opposite is true, the virus called Food Network TV, emboldened several generations to become foodies, who basically have overrun the planet with their judgmental ways and endless food selfies. If only we had a vaccine for THAT.
And, as for the giving out free information part. Frankly, we have been quiet too long and our complacency has meant there has been nobody calling out all the misinformation that exists about coffee on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook et al. Not to mention the copious amounts of websites masquerading poorly executed, and pathetic sales pitches as education.
We are doing this so that you finally get the real information and in the process help out the small independent coffee shop owner. That's our motivation. Nothing more, nothing less.
Enlightened Specialty Coffee Consumer
But wait, there has to be a catch? How will this help save independent coffee shops?
Because, you will emerge from this blog lesson, a smarter, savvier, and wiser coffee consumer. And, now that you see all that is evil and wrong about the pretend coffee world, you will emerge from your chrysalis as a sophisticated coffee consumer who will no longer be swayed by swindler, and con artists who currently have the whole world bamboozled with their snake oil.
You do this simply, by buying beans from your local independent coffee shop, ( whom you harassed into making online sales a possibility ) and following our website for enlightened recipes. That's it.
So what are you doing for two weeks?