One of the biggest questions we get asked from business owners is: Why are people not coming to my coffee shop during COVID-19?
A few weeks ago, we collaborated with the Vancouver Coffee Snob Blog and sent out a survey to our Siply users to ask them if they’re visiting coffee shops during the pandemic and what their comfort level was.
We had 528 responses and were able to gather some amazing insights from the survey.
This blog post will take you through those insights and give you some great action items to improve your shop.
We’re going to tell you how to get people into your cafe during COVID-19 and it’s not even that hard.
If you prefer to just read the raw data then click here to skip to the download section or scroll to the bottom of this blog post at any time.
The Results and Solutions
Our survey asked:
- Since the restrictions on coffee shops have been lifted by the province, have you visited a coffee shop?
- If not, why?
- If you visit a coffee shop now, what are your biggest concerns?
Since the restrictions on coffee shops have been lifted by the province, have you visited a coffee shop?
As you can see by the percentages, it looks promising. People are starting to return to their regular routine. However, it’s important to realise that 1 in 4 customers are still staying home.
IF “NO”, Why?
This is where some real gold in the survey was found.
A huge portion of the results indicated that customers were scared of other people.
This indicated that they’re comfortable with themselves and their safety measures, but don’t feel people meet their standards. This is stopping them from visiting your business.
“I’m too paranoid. It’s not actually the shop staff it’s other people that have me worried. It seems that there are a lot of people who are not paying attention to health warnings.”
“Too many people inside not abiding by social distancing and it’s not an essential.”
“I don’t want to take public transport to get to the cafes that I would normally visit.”
“Even if coffee shops follow every precaution there are still members of the public being careless. I don’t want to be close to the people in public who don’t seem to care about masks and social distancing.”
So we dug into this further.
If you visit a coffee shop now, what are your biggest concerns?
Note that this was a multiple-choice answer, hence the total does not equal 100%.
There will be too many people inside the shop 57%
I’m concerned about other customers 32%
The staff won’t wash their hands enough 25%
There will be too many people outside the shop 21%
It won’t be clean enough 14%
There will not be enough choice 9%
So, how can I make people more comfortable in my coffee shop?
To assist with this we asked the survey group this exact question and there were LOTS of great tips.
We highly recommend you study the full document for all the details. Here are some excerpts:
“Keep physical distance clear and enforced for customers, use and require masks (these are both very effective and highly visible, which are both great things!)”
“For me the best solution is pick up the coffee and choose a hotspot to take it to. the perfect example is Revolver in Vancouver’s downtown”
“Limit the amount of people inside, space people, enforce distance…”
“It would be nice if shops could afford to have staff stand at the front to ensure that the traffic is orderly and neat.”
Idea 1: Excessive Shows of Cleanliness
Customers should be able to look at your shop from the doorway and think “this place is clean”. This means that there should be no messy tables, no dirty windows, no overflowing trash cans.
Ensure there is hand sanitizer available on every surface. Be excessive here. It’s cheap and it’s appreciated by the customers.
Ensure you have socially distant markers on the ground, 2 metres apart for people to stand on. More importantly, ensure people abide by the social distancing rules.
If you’re allowing your tables to be used, ensure they’re far enough apart for people to stay 2m from each other. This includes those in the lineups.
Idea 2: Show your Staff are Taking Things Seriously
Masks should be mandatory for all staff, gloves are also a bonus. Train your staff on not touching the masks unless they’re going to take them off. Instill in them the importance of the mask covering both their mouth and nose.
Train your staff on how to express emotion with a mask on. Eyes can be used to convey happiness and joy, which creates a sense of calm with your customer.
Install plastic dividers so that the staff and patrons are separated.
Ask your staff to sanitize the point of sale machines before and after the customer uses them. The small act of wiping a credit card terminal in view of a customer makes a huge difference to their peace of mind.
If the customer is using the Siply app, train your staff to use a stylus to enter the code or better yet, tell the code to the customer so they can do it.
Idea 3: Consider a Window
Revolver in Gastown has been praised highly for their immediate pivot into window service. It allows customers to line up outside and order from their full drinks menu.
Several shops are offering this kind of service and are thriving because of it.
The same rules apply for distancing and safety though. Never forget that customers need to be able to see your shop from a distance and be reassured that you’re taking safety seriously.
Idea 4: Build a Patio
The local City councils have made it much easier to get permits for outdoor seating areas. Customers are reporting that they’re much more comfortable outside than inside.
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This allows you to keep a customer close by to your business, or better yet, upsell them food to stay.
Idea 5: Keep your Customers Informed
Now is a prime opportunity to update your Instagram account, website, Facebook profile and Twitter account to show your hours. They may change a lot as you start to work out the best times to keep your business open.
If you’re a member of the Siply network of coffee shops we will actively monitor your business and update the hours so they’re correct inside the app, so our 4000 users are informed.
If you wish to join the Siply network of cafes, click here.
At Siply we also offer a competitive social media management service to help you keep your customers informed about new drinks, food and other news at your business. Contact us here to discuss this more.
Idea 6: Cater to the Home Brewing Crowd
In the survey we asked “Have you started brewing coffee at home since the COVID-19 crisis started?”.
A massive 82% of people responded “yes”.
This is a prime opportunity for you to help them with this.
If you’re not already offering home brewing equipment, reach out to Espressotec to chat to them about stocking and selling equipment to brew coffee at home.
The Full “Why are people not coming to my coffee shop during COVID-19?” Survey
If you want to read the entire survey and crunch the data yourself, we’ve made it available here:
COVID19-Coffee Shop Comfort Survey 1.0.xlsx
If using the data publicly, please credit Siply and link back to this blog post.