Kevin Frey, owner of Puritan Coffee and Beer an iconic coffee shop, craft beer and foodie gathering place in Fayetteville, Arkansas was not always a small business owner. Five years before, he traveled extensively while working at Delta Arlines as a bag checker.
Kevin discovered his passion for coffee and craft beer while traveling. The discovery of something delicious with a group of friends, and at times, strangers ignited his love for bringing people together over great experiences. Curiosity transformed into enthusiasm which culminated in working part-time at a local coffee shop in Fayetteville to learn the art of coffee roasting, brewing and serving.
Before Puritan Coffee and Beer, Fayetteville did not have a craft specific bar, the options were limited to the traditional smoke filled bars. Kevin shared, “I remember walking downtown Fayetteville one night thinking to myself who would not want to spend time in a place that offers delicious specialty coffee and craft beer in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere?” For a lot of people, coffee and beer is like a ritual, typical bookends for their day.
Like Kevin, every entrepreneur’s journey stars with a dream. With the COVID-19 health-crisis, that has led to shelter-in-place-orders across the United States, are small business entrepreneurs dreaming?
6 Tips When Opening A New Coffee Shop, Craft Brewery, Bar or Restaurant During COVID-19
Before COVID-19 altered our lives, the United States had 30.7 million local businesses and they employ 47.3 percent of the private workforce. The top three industries for U.S. small business employment are (1) health care and social assistance, (2) accommodation and food services, and (3) retail trade.
The numbers may be altered significantly as small business entrepreneurs struggle, yet there are a few bright spots. This guide is meant to offer ideas and help new small business owners plan storefront formats for their dream coffee shops, craft breweries and restaurants.
- Your digital presence reflects every aspect of your brand experience. When COVID-19 altered reality to social distancing and the inability of groups to gather in common spaces, a fine dining restaurant in Seattle made a complete shift to a drive-thru bagel breakfast and lunch. As demand soared, they expanded their offerings to order-ahead family style meals and cocktail kits. Their approach went viral and soon, Canlis Restaurant expanded their delivery coverage across Seattle neighborhoods, hosting virtual social nights with live streamed bingo and piano performances. Canlis’ website and Instagram mirrors the fine dining’s restaurant shift and journey in the face of COVID-19. Learn how to build and design a great business website.
- Make it easy for consumers to understand what your business offers. We’ve reviewed a number of email campaigns and social media shares posted by a variety of small brands to create awareness and market to customers. The common challenge: small businesses continue to sell one product or package, yet link to full menus vs. a paired down menu. More focused menu choices for the consumer is better when the key differentiator is the quality of your product, sanitation standards, efficiency in delivery and price.
- Make it easy for consumers to make a purchase. When there is confusion on how to place the order for a to go order, curb-side pick up or delivery then you’re likely missing out on a few potential daily sales. Bonus points for businesses that offer no-contact payment method or a cashless experience. There are Cloud POS solutions that no longer require a signature.
- Stay connected, while apart. There are many ways to gather your community and stay connected during these tough times. As big foodies who love craft beer and cocktails we watch David Lebovitz’ live Instagram cocktail hours. David teaches his viewers how to mix wonderful cocktails from his new book, Drinking French. The show is live streamed from his kitchen in Paris, at times accompanied by Romain or a featured guest. It is fun and enticing, we often make what we learned at home and have extensive conversations about the ingredients and flavors. David Lebovitz food and cocktail recipes is part of our weekly ritual during COVID-19.
- Plan on opening with a storefront layout and workflow that prioritizes safety and health first. Brands like Starbucks are preparing to reopen 85% of their stores in June 2020. The coffee giant’s reopening preparation entails reconfiguring storefronts to support social distancing and a high standard of safety and sanitation measures. The details are not publicly available at this time, though we know one thing: Starbucks is going cashless.
- Take full control of your limited dine-in capacity. With food service businesses in most States reopening at 25% or 50% capacity, be prepared to do so as well. With more people working from home and a desire to be in a safe yet social space, be ready to take full control of your limited dine-in space by setting clear policies and requiring a purchase when connection to guest WiFi expires.
- Offer coffee subscriptions and online ordering. Opening a storefront does not mean you can’t sell your products or service online at the same time. When shelter-in-orders went into place in many states, businesses that relied 100% on their storefront for revenue shuttered. Many will not reopen, while others are struggling to slowly reopen. Launching your business with a multi-channel revenue stream from day 1, means you’ll always have something to lean on at all times. Offering subscription gift boxes and product subscriptions is a great way to launch your online store.
In this uncertain market climate, everyone is looking for ways to restore and grow their business footprint. Investing in an all-in-one customer marketing and data solution that helps you better understand your customers is top of mind more than ever. Request for more info.
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