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Coffee, Conversation, and Crisis: Old Town Coffee

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Old Town Coffee in San Sebastián - Donostia, Spain

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 second of a series of blog posts about the topic.


San Sebastián - Donostia, Spain

Old Town Coffee is one of the busiest cafes we’ve been to in San Sebastián. It’s a great place to have coffee, eat breakfast, and just take in the wonderful surfing beach ambiance provided by the cafe and its patrons.

How did you react when the lockdown was announced? What were the key things you prioritized? First thing is I tried to keep my employees calm. It takes time to build a good team and keeping them is our main goal. I also tried to make sure I had enough financial liquidity to face the next few months, and if not, tried to think about where or how to get it. 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? I’m keeping myself busy, studying most of the time about coffee and also about finances. I’m trying to apply for all the government help for small businesses and also organizing credit options with banks, so I can be fine in the worst scenario possible. I’m keeping my workers away from all the business trouble. I just ask them to be creative and bring new ideas for when we reopen. I also have a lot of time to go through numbers and supplier bills; it’s a good time to organize all that and leave it as clean as possible. 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’re not sure about how things will start yet—whether or not there will still be some social distancing—so we’re working harder on social media and trying to organize more events, such as cupping sessions, talks, etc. What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far during this time of crisis? The economy is very vulnerable, so always keep more emergency savings that you think you might need. Having gone through this experience, how do you think you can make your business even more resilient in the future? Keep putting the same love we put the last 5 years since we opened, but take even better care of our daily customers, because they are the ones who can save us when the crisis ends.

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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