Coffee may be the key to recovery post-COVID

Coffee may be the key to recovery post-COVID

A new report shows that not only is coffee essential for many early risers, it could also be the pick-me-up the country needs on the road to economic recovery post-COVID.

The Coffee Shop Owners Report from TR Consulting is the first of its kind in a series of industry investigations into the successes, challenges and failures involved in operating a small business.

Whilst the cafe and coffee culture in Australia is fast becoming an addiction (blame the caffeine!), the individuals behind the industry often face an uphill battle to keep their businesses open, financially viable and competitive—compounded further by the devastating and ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

To date, there are more than 20,000 cafes across Australia that employ over 127,000 workers. The report compares the results of a 2018 nationwide survey of Australian café owners with how the industry is faring since COVID-19, with some surprising results. Here are the top five takeaways:

  1. Although we are self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs, Australia didn’t even rank top 40 in the world for the highest annual coffee consumption per capita (we came in at 42!)
  2. Despite repeated lockdowns and restrictions as a result of the pandemic, only 3.7 per cent of cafe owners temporarily shut down their business operations, and only 7 per cent had to take out a business loan for financial assistance
  3. When reflecting on the mental health impact of COVID-19, 37 per cent of participants recorded a score of 10/10 (with 10 being a significantly negative impact). The average number out of 10 was 6.7
  4. In 2018, finding and keeping good chefs was a challenge for cafe business owners, whereas in 2021, it is holding on to a top barista
  5. Although there is a big focus on foot traffic when it comes to building up a good reputation in a brick-and-mortar store, cafe owners ranked Social Media as their most important marketing tool in both 2018 and 2021

Strong market trends noticed in the industry prior to COVID-19, was the increasing use of cafes as a place of work and meetings. Therefore, for new entrants, this should be a consideration when fitting out your cafe, whether it be considering the size of the table (nothing worse than a wonky small table where the coffee does not fit next to the laptop) or providing power access for laptops and phones. Cafes that roast their own beans also provided a strong boost in customer appreciation.

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