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Coffee, Conversation, and Crisis: Knockbox Coffee Company

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Knockbox Coffee Company shop front in Hong Kong.

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 fifth of a series of blog posts about the topic.

Patrick Knockbox Coffee Company Hongkong

Knockbox Coffee is an independent cafe in the Kowloon side of Hong Kong that serves one of the best cups of coffee in the area (in our humble opinion). This place deserves a spot in any traveler's coffee crawl, as well as any local coffee enthusiast's list of go-to cafes.  But don't take our word for it--check it out for yourself! 

Patrick Tam of Knockbox Coffee Company

How did you react when the lockdown was announced? What were the key things you prioritized? We knew the threat was imminent from the news that neighbor countries were falling one by one. The first thing we did was to prepare hand sanitizers and paper bag for customers to put their masks upon entering our shop. We had to estimate the number of takeaway customers vs dine in, and how our workflow can be steered towards the former. We had to top up our takeaway supplies such as paper cups and boxes. And we had to make sure our listing on the most popular delivery apps are up to date. 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? Staff are still on high spirits because we have a new team for the shop that was opened only 2 months ago. With fewer orders they have more time to practice brewing and learn the principles of making good coffee. With fewer customers, they would be able to spend more time with each, sharing a little knowledge and insight on how coffee growers are suffering as a result of the pandemic. We continuously adjust our supplies and menu, so as to make sure dishes would taste equally good as takeaway as eaten at the shop. 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 a shipment of Ethiopian coffee delayed because of the lockdown. We will miss an Easter campaign where some dishes on the menu will be revamped. We have also missed a few sharing sessions where a member of my team is supposed to share his trip to sourcing coffee from Ethiopia earlier this year. There’s plenty to offer once the lockdown is over! What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far during this time of crisis? Key lessons: don’t over expand, don’t overstock. allow some buffer. Having gone through this experience, how do you think you can make your business even more resilient in the future? I’ve been through the SARS pandemic; I know how the society swings from complete lockdown to a state of relief and revival in just a few weeks. Back then our coffee business hadn’t started. But it’s always in the back of our mind the importance of being vigilant on hygiene issues and corporate image--we pay so much attention to details on coffee that customers can trust us in protecting them by practices implemented at the shop and in food preparation. 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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