As our country responds to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many states have moved forward in banning non-essential business. As a result, coffee shops and cafes are being limited to pickup only. Coffee shop owners have several tough decisions to make in these unprecedented times; none more important than how to best protect yourself and your employees.
As the leading mobile ordering app for coffee shops, we are working hard to empower owners in as many ways as possible. In addition to waiving our commission fee through at least May 1st, we are working hard to collect and distribute best practices during this crisis to safely provide a lifeline and keep your doors open as long as possible.
Mobile-only transactions, contact-less pickup, and curbside service have emerged as the safest ways to serve your customers by limiting or eliminating face-to-face interaction. Below, you'll find tips on configuring your cafe or coffee shop for contact-free pickup and transactions.
Remove all in-door seating
The first step is to disallow dine-in experiences. The best way to do that is to remove tables, or stack them on top of one another (tabletop to tabletop) and move them out of the way, or use them to help enforce a pickup-only flow and limit space to linger within your shop.
Create a buffer between baristas and customers
Once dine-in experiences are addressed, the other exposure hot spot is the in-person transaction. The safest bet is to go mobile-only, but if you offer in-person transactions you’ll want to address three major areas:
Step 1: Eliminate cash transactions. This eliminates an exchange from the customer and makes it more manageable to keep a sterile environment behind the counter and your baristas safe.
Step 2: Move your point-of-sale at least six feet away from your espresso machine. This allows payment to occur at a safe distance from your barista while they are making an order.
Step 3: Require customers to order at least six feet from the POS. Once an order is entered and ready for payment, your barista may move to your espresso machine (six feet away) while a customer pays with a debit or credit card. You can mark a spot on the floor to let customers know where to stand, or even consider enforcing the safe zone with a physical barrier.
Celia and the team at South LA Cafe have created a safe ordering experience for customers whether in person or through mobile.
(South LA Cafe offers a safe and healthy experience of customers who order in-shop)
By moving to mobile-ordering only, you will have orders ready for your customers when they arrive which eliminates wait time in your shop and minimizes interaction between customers.
Mobile ordering also eliminates your point-of-sale from being used so people don’t have to approach the counter to order or pay. This allows you to establish a physical barrier of six or more feet between your pickup zone and baristas.
We'll provide all the digital templates, creative, and promotions you need to get the word out over the next 30 days and beyond.
Provide curbside service
(Cedar River Coffee provides exceptional curbside customer service, keeping customers and baristas safe.)
With joe, you can enable curbside service and customers can stay in their car, alert you when they arrive, and you can hand-off the order. Add another layer of social distance by placing the order on a table next to your curbside pickup sign.
Set expectations with signage
Clearly mark your pickup zones and provide guidance to customers on how to order and what to expect. If you continue to accept in-person orders, we encourage promoting mobile ordering to reduce risk as much as possible. Every mobile order ahead reduces wait time in your shop.
(Example of signage from Blue Star Coffee Roasters in Twisp, WA)
Keep all add-ins behind the counter
Lids, stir sticks, straws, milk add-ins, etc. should move out of common space and behind the bar. This adds a little bit of a wrinkle to how you manage orders on items like drip, pour-overs, tea, and americanos. Be sure to ask about drink add-ins during a transaction. If you adopt mobile-only with joe, we have those modifiers pre-configured so they will come through as part of the transaction.
Feature merch, beans, and giftcards to boost cashflow
Many of your customers may be eager to find safe ways to support your business beyond their daily favorite. We make it easy to add homebrew options, merchandise, and even groceries to your menu so you can feature them prominently within the app using photos and upsells.
Source hyper-local groceries to help customers grocery stores
With grocery stores being required to limit the number of customers they allow at any one time, people are waiting hours before entering grocery stores in some cities. Being able to order ahead and pick-up staple groceries at the local coffee shop can be a huge help when customers are in a pinch.
(Paul from San Marino Cafe and Marketplace offers groceries to order ahead for pickup.)
Ensure you're following state and local guidelines
These tips are all based on what we're seeing nation wide among partners. It's incredibly important that you put public and barista safety first by following your state and local guidelines. Below we've included resources and links to help you navigate. If you have any questions please reach out and we can point you in the right direction.
- Get access to financial relief as part of the CARE ACT and PPP loan program
- Read the Covid-19 Fact Sheet
- Get the latest advisories and information from your state and local health department
- Provide your employees an "Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker" letter allowing them to continue working
- Information on paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses
- Review federal or state government guidance or emergency rule on paid sick, emergency, or safe time leave laws as they relate to COVID-19
- More information can be found at the National Restaurant Association
Transition to pickup only service
To launch mobile ordering at your shop, begin by registering here and we can build your menu and have you ready to go live the same business day.