Some good news this morning, the latest research has shown there is a positive sentiment towards local coffee shops and cafés as we move through the COVID crisis. We know that good news doesn’t help pay the bills though.

According to recent research by Allegra, 55% said they had visited a café or coffee shop since the lockdown lifted, only visiting family and friends was more popular at 69%. UK cafés were more popular than pubs, bars & restaurants, which attracted 28% of people surveyed.

The greatest challenge for us at the moment is making guests feel safe. In general coffee shops and cafés are smaller and, because of the nature of our business, have more guests through the door every day than a typical pub or restaurant, and there lies the heart of the issue.

Social distancing is the most prefered way of mitigating the risk of spreading the virus and is made more difficult due to lack of space.

People are hyper-aware of our cleaning regimes, making a judgement on whether to return to us based on what they observe more than ever. A sticky table or lipstick-stained cup in the past may have been annoying but forgiven, in the new normal they are a big red traffic light that will stop them coming back.

The return to a new normal has started slowly. Some negatives and positives are coming through now. On the one hand, some offices won’t be back until 2021, on the other many of our competitors have closed for good, leaving us menu opportunities.

Many of the big chains have used Company Voluntary Agreements (CVA’s) as a stick to beat landlords with, reducing their rents. You are in a commanding position, because of these CVA’s, to renegotiate your lease down or to expand, as independent operators look more attractive to landlords.

We are actively working with clients to improve their menus and negotiate with landlords, having some amazing results.

If you want to create a new menu, improve your recovery, want inspiration or deal with a difficult landlord then work with us to solve your problems fast. The quicker you grasp the opportunities in the New Normal, the better your long term outcome.