How to keep your café afloat during a crisis

Michael Elligett


The hospitality and tourism sectors are experiencing their biggest hurdle ever with the downfall of the economy following COVID-19. A lot of café owners are asking the question “How long will this go on for and we will we survive it?”. The unfortunate thing is that no one can answer this question, and it is this uncertainty that is causing the most stress in businesses that rely on customers coming in and buying their products.

We have done some research and come up with a few tips that could potentially help you and your staff survive this crazy turn of events that the world is currently experiencing.



Communication is key, you need to show your customers that you are open and continuing with business as usual. Talking to your staff and letting them know that there may be changes along the way but it is in everyone’s best interest and only necessary changes are being made.


Cleaning and Hygiene

Emphasising the importance of cleaning and maintaining good hygiene practices is paramount in a situation such as a pandemic. Show customers that you are cleaning your café and equipment more often than normal and having access to things such as hand washing stations and hand sanitiser for both customers and staff force them to clean their hands constantly. Putting up signs and posters with information about how to stop the spread of COVID-19 may provide some comfort for your customers as you’ve acknowledged that you’re taking steps to provide a safe environment.

Consider your Physical and Online Space

Increase spacing between your tables and chairs, keeping the suggested distances of 1.5m between people to minimise any physical contact and transmission of germs. Try to promote any online ordering services such as Hey You, Uber Eats and Skip, allowing customers to place orders and online for pick up while minimising interaction between staff and customers.


Minimise Costs

The financial strain is probably the scariest element of the outbreak. Minimising costs where you can to save a few dollars here and there may be the solution to being able to pay your staff and bills. Investigate any fixed costs that you could reduce- talk to you landlord about rent repayments, minimise labour costs, use up what stock you have on hand and don’t order more until it’s necessary. Altering some of the items offered on your menu, reducing the variety and only stock items that you know will be readily available and affordable rather than offering dearer quality items that may be low in stock.


Now is time to focus on community spirit and loyalty. Supporting each other through this tough time and respecting the actions that are being made is the only way that we will come out on the other side. We may be feeling the effects of COVID-19 for a long time to come, but for the time being, let's try and buy our coffees and go out for brunch to support our cafe family.

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