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Coffee, Conversation, and Crisis: The Mill

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

The Mill Cafe shop front in Lisbon, Portugal.

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 seventh of a series of blog posts about the topic.

Mark The Mill Lisbon, Portugal The Mill is your go-to place for specialty coffee and brunch in Lisbon. The thing is, it's also everyone else’s go-to place for specialty coffee and brunch in Lisbon, so you’re gonna have to battle it out with the rest of the city. When you do get your chance to experience this awesome place, you’ll know we weren’t lying.

Barista making latte art at The Mill Cafe.

How did you react when the lockdown was announced? What were the key things you prioritized? Our two key priorities were taking care of our team and doing everything possible to ensure the business could survive the lockdown and potentially a depressed market when we re-open. We wanted to ensure we could afford to pay our team during this time, such as getting access to the Portuguese Government's "layoff scheme" to help pay them. For the business, it was also critical to secure some additional funding or liquidity to ensure we can survive the next 6-12 months. 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? Our business is closed right now, so we are looking at additional opportunities to develop new sources of revenue when we re-open. We are also evaluating what changes to our offer, our menu, etc, we may need to make when we open. As for our team, we communicate with them every week and keep them informed of potential dates to re-open. 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 are reviewing our menu, our offering and new revenue stream, but we are also planning for potentially decreased sales when we first open as we expect overall number of customers to be lower in the short to medium term. What are the key lessons you’ve learned so far during this time of crisis? Two key lessons: (1) always ensure the business has a good safety net (i.e. cash in the bank) to see you through these times, and (2) make sure you have the ability to speak with your team. Having gone through this experience, how do you think you can make your business even more resilient in the future? It is a good reminder to always be reviewing your costs and looking at new ways to innovate to develop new revenue sources. 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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