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Take me to shop
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So, the Coronavirus outbreak is throwing uncertainty and anxiety into a lot of independent business. In times of change, we independents can change quicker than most large scale operations to adapt. Though we tend to specialise and sell only a small range of things on our menus, when the times change, we can quickly edit that product set to meet demand and changing needs. See the below for some instant wins that hospitality businesses can get into easily, while publicising and advertising freely to continue to serve your customers everywhere!

1. Become a greengrocer!

There is nothing wrong with transforming your coffee shop to meet the demand for groceries. Fuel your customers with more than just takeaway coffee & a restricted menu. Sell them the raw materials you’re normally ordering for your menu, and more! Create some grocery boxes and have the supplier direct custom to you to save them excess strain. Your regulars will be able to continue to support you, and avoid the chaos of supermarkets in this hard time. All while continuing the support for local independents. 🙂


2. Reallocate staff!

The chaos surrounding the food chain is sending spikes of demand right back to grocery suppliers all over the country. That yields the perfect opportunity to help those suppliers in their times of excess demand. Offer to redistribute staff that you cannot realistically employ as usual. With local wholesalers for groceries and other food supplies on a tight deadline per customer, they could use the extra hands!
Letting your customers fill their fridges and pantries with your usual raw materials as recommended above, instead of leaving them to head to a chaotic supermarket could come with an interesting oppportunity for barter too. In staffing, coffee shops will likely see a reduced need for staff on shift. Hoever, continued demand for food means that someone, somewhere is having to face the demand for the meals and ingredients that you’d normally be serving to customers.
Creating a relationship for temporary work with your grocery suppliers could mean that they don’t have to add anyone to their payroll, and could mean you’re able to fulfil the demand for what people are still allowed to buy regardless of the pandemic. But, it’d be packed in your own shop instead of at a supermarket, and could possibly even have been fulfilled by one of your staff members who is then happily still employed with working hours as per usual.
Go ahead and ask your grocery suppliers if this would work to help them out. Hospitality staff that are unable to continue serving in their usual domain are some of the best placed people to temporarily reallocate and meet the spikes in grocery demand – so why not!

3. Create your own voucher system

Custom build some gift vouchers or gift card vouchers for your customers! They most likely want to visit you in these times, but maybe many are now unable to.
Undoubtedly they would be happy to ‘pay forward’ future purchases with a voucher or a donation to help tide you over and shield you against the financial void during this time.
At the very least, create an online system using PayPal where you’re able to log payments in advance for future demand to be met. It could be a little help to fill the financial void while footfall reduces!

4. Encourage ‘paying forward’ at your shop

Ko-Fi and similar sites are great for setting up a donation page to your business during these harder times for retail footfall. Your customers can donate to your coffee shop (along with others they support) as a token gesture during these difficult times.

As we all know, the hospitality industry cannot immediately switch to work from home like others may be able to, so these donations can be vital for continuing hard earned livelihoods amidst these strange times of low footfall and low demand.


5. Start your own online shop!

Setting up a website with an online shop function needn’t have to be complicated, there are plenty of platforms out there that allow you to do so relatively easily and often for free. If you have a site that you can retail coffee and other pantry provisions from it can be an excellent way to carry you through in times such as these when your traditional revenue stream may be stifled. Cropster (the roast profiling software we use) have set up an option that is totally free and quick to set up – you can read more about it here: https://www.cropster.com/news/article/free-online-shops-for-cropster-customers-and-more/

Send us any more suggestions you’ve got for helping in these desperate times, and we’ll add to our list. Solidarity and a bit of lateral thinking can keep us all on track if we get creative with our willingness to adapt and overcome what’s at play.

All the best, and stay healthy!

The North Star Family