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Coffee, Conversation, and Crisis: Elephant Beans Coffee

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Shop front of Elephant Beans in Freiburg, Germany.

Now that the Corona situation in Manila is generally calmer (not better), we at Bean & Barley thought it might be a good time to share some relevant and valuable insights from cafe owners affected by the crisis worldwide . This is the sixth of a series of blog posts about the topic. Jörg Elephant Beans Freiburg, Germany

Barista (Jörg) preparing coffee for a customer in Elephant Beans Coffee.

Elephant Beans is a specialty cafe and roastery in the city of Freiburg, Germany. There aren't a lot of specialty cafes in this area, which is why we were ecstatic to find out about it from local friends. The Black Forest region is amazing for a lot of reasons, and Elephant Beans just made it even more special to us. How did you react when the lockdown was announced? What were the key things you prioritized? We kind of expected the lock down—as experience from neighbouring countries. As serving coffee is not our main activity, but the main activity is selling coffee, we were allowed to stay open. Coffee is only prepared for take away - but very few per day. How are you dealing with the lockdown, now that we’re in the middle of it? How are you keeping your employees engaged? Are you reviewing your plans and strategies? We reduced opening hours. Clients order via phone, email and (mainly webshop) for pick-up or delivery with parcel service. Working times for employees are reduced and we get compensated by the government funds for short time working. The lockdown boosted our online business. We installed a plexi screen in front of the cash point and put up masks. People mainly pay with credit card. How are you preparing to kickstart your business when the lockdown is over? Are you planning some activities to make sure you hit the ground running? We have no plans yet. As still many of our regular customers buy coffee, they will be notified through our social media and written notice at the door. What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far during this time of crisis? It was good not to put all eggs in one basket: Be diversified and build your business on different pillars Having gone through this experience, how do you think you can make your business even more resilient in the future? To create even more identifiers for your customers with your business is important. A crucial question will be how the crisis and climate change will affect the producers. If coffee production substantially goes down, coffee culture will be at a threat. Hence: Support your producers—buy directly at fair price! Get your customers involved. And that's a wrap! If you would like to have a deeper conversation about what you can do to make your coffee business more resilient to crises, feel free to get in touch with us HERE.

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