The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on Australian business in just about every industry, though no one can deny the devastating impacts to the hospitality industry, and in particular, our favourite coffee shops, some of which may never reopen.
According to the recent Harris Café Report — a survey commissioned by Harris Coffee that looked into consumer attitudes towards our café culture — 70% of Australians are worried cafes will never be the same as they were pre-COVID, which is concerning even before you take into account the fact that 70% of Aussies consider their local cafe to be the centre of their communities.
The report also found that 80% of small business owners in hospitality (the majority of which are café owners), will not be able to recover from the devastating events of 2020 without third party support.
Which is why Harris has launched the Harris Café Recovery Project — an initiative which encourages Australian cafe owners to apply for a share in a $1 million support package to help them get back on their feet and thriving once more.
Below, we’ve rounded up three ways you can help support your local coffee shops and keep Australia’s cafe culture alive and well.
☆ Encourage your local to apply
The Harris Café Recovery Project will help up to 25 cafe owners with a share of the $1 million stimulus package. As part of the assistance, cafe owners will receive free coffee, a new coffee machine with servicing, and free takeaway cups from Biopak for one year. Full technical support will also be provided, plus barista training and up to $5,000 in marketing support.
If you know of a cafe that could really use this kind of support, the best thing you can do is tell them about the initiative and encourage them to apply.
“Between the bushfires and COVID-19, cafés across Australia have been hit hard in recent months. It has become clear how important cafes are to Australians and their communities. As an Australian coffee roaster, we felt like we needed to do our bit to get cafes back on their feet and help keep doors open, returning them to being an integral part of their local area,” says David Ansell, head of Harris Coffee.
“Through our Harris Café Report, we found that 80% of small business owners in hospitality believe they won’t recover from recent hardships without support. 43% also said they won’t be able to stay open longer than six months without the support.”
Head here to find out more about the stimulus package and apply.
☆ Buy coffees
Keep grabbing coffees from your local cafes. While some states are now operating at a more normal capacity, others, like those in Victoria, are experiencing a second wave of hardship. Where you can, and only if you’re well, pick up coffees from your local cafe and let them know how important the ritual is to you.
☆ Keep engaging and think long-term
If your cafe has been making delicious cakes, treat yourself to one and share a photo on your social media, tagging the cafe in the process. Use your platform, no matter how large, to share the good work your local cafe has been doing to keep themselves serving you their delicious coffees every day.
If your local cafe is working on takeaway only right now, ask if there’s a way for their cooks to make you a week’s worth of meals, or buy a few servings of food to freeze for a rainy day. Stay for a chat and enquire about produce from suppliers. If they’re receiving more bread than they can serve in a week, offer to buy a loaf for yourself while you grab your coffee.
And if you can, consider buying a gift voucher for a friend or paying for a months’ worth of your own coffees upfront. You love your cafe, so help keep them in the neighbourhood where they belong.