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Coffee, Conversation, and Crisis: Sweet Spot Kaffee



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 first of a series of blog posts about the topic.

Markus

Sweet Spot Kaffee

Munich, Germany

Sweet Spot Kaffee is one of the newest cafes in the Munich specialty coffee scene, and already it is getting much fanfare. A quaint shop in the center of town, Sweet Spot Kaffee is one of our favorites for espresso, whether to take away or to enjoy while people-watching.

How did you react when the lockdown was announced? What were the key things you prioritized? To be honest, I was relieved… my girlfriend is from Milan so I knew it was coming anyway and I felt we were wasting time by not locking down sooner. With regard to the business, my top priorities were moving as much of the stock that we had left on the shelves so coffee wouldn’t go stale, that the bank account was covered for the weeks to come, and that staff was kept busy. We took orders via Instagram DMs and biked out almost 100 orders of whole bean coffee and equipment all over town. 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? Like probably everyone else, I’m doing some work on the shop that you usually never get time to properly do in peace (sand down and re-finish surfaces, service machines, re-wire some stuff in the bar, give everything a proper, proper deep clean, and re-organize the storage area). My employees are filming home brew guides for social media and biking out a few more orders every day, and I’m sitting down to build an online shop because taking orders via Instagram DM was a logistical nightmare. 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? It’ll be interesting to see what happens—will people spring back quickly craving social contact (and good coffee) or will they be more hesitant to mingle? There’s no way to tell now, but there’s also nothing you can really do to influence it. I hope the webshop is off to a good start to help us out a little, but as a strictly brick and mortar business you’re just reliant on people to come. What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far during this time of crisis? No one knows what they’re doing, not just you. Having gone through this experience, how do you think you can make your business even more resilient in the future? It’s definitely showed a real vulnerability that we’ll need to think about. We’ll need to diversify at least a little bit to not be so completely dependent on traffic. It doesn’t take a global pandemic to slow stuff down; bad weather periods, regular flu season, or just a temporary economic recession might have a drastic effect on how often the door opens every day. Of course, you can’t fully bullet-proof your business against that, but thinking about building at least a little bit of a side thing to rely on is definitely worth it. You’ve got all the time in the world to do that now.


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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