Dear Kally,

I hope this email finds you well. 

I’d like to update you of my situation and perhaps seek your suggestions on how to improve and move on from here. 

As you know I owned a small cafe with my husband in my neighbourhood. Before the pandemic happened, we were struggling a little to make ends meet but we never thought of giving up. The cafe is like our child since we never had any children. It pains us to close it during the lockdown and now we may never open it up again. The landlord wants to increase the rent and yes, even at times like this. We have been to town council but they turned us away because it is private property. I’m at my wits end whether should we reopen or stay shut until better times. If we do reopen, I’m afraid we are going to empty our life savings just for rental and marketing. 

Before we talk to our lawyer, I’m making one last attempt to perhaps find out from you if there is anything I can do. I know you have lots of ideas and you like helping people. So maybe you can help by giving some ideas to save our business? 

Thank you in advance. 

With Regards, 
Jodie C


Hello Jodie,

Sad to hear that your business and your lives have been impacted by the current situation. We are all in this together however, some like yourself are having it worse than others. But not forgetting that there are many more that are having worst than us. 

As you mentioned that your cafe had been struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic, I think we need to take a closer look at this. I hope you have the contacts of your regular customers to conduct a survey. If you don’t have their contacts, it’s okay. You can post a survey on Facebook in your neighbourhood group or Whatsapp group. Your questions need to reflect on food, ambience and customer service. Please allow me to provide some examples to kickstart your brainstorming.

Food:
Quality / Freshness
Amount 
Taste 
Most liked dish 
Least liked dish 

Ambience:
Cleanliness 
Noise Level
Opening Hours

Customer Service:
Where have they heard of your cafe?
Accessibility to your cafe
Attitude of Your Staff
Price Point 

Don’t beat yourself up if you get bad feedback. Be grateful for any kind of feedback because it means people are still rooting for you to make changes, rather than ignoring you totally. 

Using the data you’ve got, think about the changes you need to make. With your cafe rising rate, the biggest decision you need to make is whether to continue to hold on to a physical store or move your passion online. Yes, you don’t have to stop completely. By moving your business online, you don’t need to have the liability of rent. You already have the necessary kitchen equipment that you can reinstall in your own home. You can also choose to focus and start with survey data’s most liked foods. With lockdown on and off, it can be difficult to forecast if you can even open your cafe next week. 

Once the situation stabilise, (it will, for sure) you can start look at the survey data on your cafe accessibility and whether it is worth staying at the same locale or maybe you need to move neighbourhoods if you still want to have a physical place to run your cafe. 

Humans are adaptable and resilient, we will survive this together. So keep changing and brainstorming with ideas until you find a solution (or many solutions) that fits you. 

Don’t give up your dream. Take care.

Regards,
Kally@MiddleMe.net


If you like to reach out and tap on my brains for ideas, please feel free to drop me an email at Kally@MiddleMe.net. Otherwise, please enjoy the following advise that I dished out:
A Word of Advice: My Business Affected due to Pandemic
A Word Of Advice: Anti-Marriage Policy
A Word of Advice: Jobless & Homeless

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38 replies on “A Word Of Advice: Losing Our Precious Cafe

  1. It is easy for the landlord to say he wants more rent. But the market might mean that he will get less. Let him sweat a bit and then be a ruthless negotiator. He wight even be willing to ake a equity stake in lieu of a rent increase.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Sound advice Kally. I would start up a takeaway from home and deliver food freshly made.

    Jodie,

    My sister and her daughter each run successful party food delivery for Christenings, hen parties, weddings, birthdays, retirements etc. They supply things like party boxes for kids or quirky shaped shortbreads to suit the occasion like birthday balloons with the name of the recipient on them and so on.

    Anything’s worth a try at the moment, and you’d be surprised how people will go for this idea. I’m happy to give you her FB page to view.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. since the cafe was struggling to begin with, i think the ideas you gave would help find out “why”. maybe the location is not right? is there another cafe or 2 nearby causing competition? the writer of the post does not give information about what they have been doing or plan to do to keep open. have they already been doing take out or delivery?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great pointing out the missing info. I think finding out why is the first and very important step they must do in order to identify what the next steps are.

      Like

    1. Great ideas it should be noted if they move this operation to thier home it will also come with additional expensive such as insurance, delivery/shipping fees, storage etc. They may want weight these cost to what the new rent price will be.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a very sad story. A lot of owners of coffee shops or restaurants are in such a bad situation – even here in Germany! We all have to stroggle with that virus. You advice to your friends was perfect., Wish you and your friends all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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