What the Lockdown Lifting Roadmap Means for Cafés!

Our proud coffee company, Herbert & Ward, survived WW2, supplied through the great depression, and battled against numerous economic recessions, so we’ve been through a lot! However, when reflecting on our long history, one of the brightest moments was to witness the establishment of the NHS back in 1948, and the coronavirus struggle has helped us remember that special year all the more.


Despite the NHS’s incredible efforts, we all know how hard our poor old hospitality industry has been hit by the virus. But this blog isn’t about looking back, it’s about looking forward, with much optimism and excitement!


So let’s run through the UK’s steps back to reality, and what it means for all our lovely cafés, restaurants, and hotels.


Stage 1 - 29th March


It all started on Monday the 29th of March, it was the warmest day of the year so far, and the sun was shining, so things were looking bright!


From the 29th of March onwards, up to 6 people are allowed to meet outside (including private gardens), outdoor sport facilities reopen and wedding bells could start ringing again! However, cafés have to stay closed, apart from offering takeaway beverages. So not much difference in the coffee industry on that front, until...


Stage 2 - 12th April


Cafés, pubs, and restaurants, some good news (for some of you)! From the 12th of April, you’re allowed to serve food and drinks to customers… sitting outdoors. This is a major step in the right direction, but for the cafés without any outdoor space, this doesn’t exactly help. In fact, it could worsen their situation if they’re not careful, as people will be less obliged to buy takeaway coffee, now that they can sit in a pub garden and enjoy it socially.


However, now that the pub gardens are open, it’s an opportunity for cafés to inject some creativity by offering creative food options to keep (or even boost) those sales! Needless to say, if the cafés are using Herbert & Ward coffee, it doesn't matter how creative some cafés are being, customers will always return for the best quality coffee!


All shops, gyms, spa’s, theme parks, libraries and community centres are also welcomed back to business from April 12th, and beautiful wedding venues, like Leeds Castle, can also host weddings for up to 15 people now, 9 more than the previous month.


Stage 3 - 17th May


Cafés, along with other hospitality venues, including accommodations, can now seat customers indoors and host guests! Museums, theatres, cinema’s and children’s play areas can re-open too, and all of a sudden the UK is starting to seem ‘normal’ again by the 17th of May. Or at least it will, as long as this all goes to plan.


Our coffee has never tasted better now that it’s sipped with excitement to visit friends, go on dates and book domestic holidays again! And we’re sure all our beloved cafés will enjoy serving it as much as their customers enjoy ordering it.


Stage 4 - 21st June


No earlier than June 21st, all legal limits on social contact aims to be removed, all thanks to the self-discipline of Brits, the tireless work of the NHS, and the superb vaccine, a true day for celebration will be in order! Nightclubs will also be the last to re-open, on this date.


Cafés will hope to be back in full swing by then, our tea and coffee farmers/growers will be satisfied once again, and our country should want to wake up and smell the coffee! We can’t wait!


Looking back, takeaway coffee has provided a lifeline for many cafés that stayed open during lockdown, with rapid, frictionless transactions essential for ensuring staff and customer safety. Something to consider for when cafés and restaurants reopen, is that there will likely be a substantial rise in contactless transactions, so ensure that your venue is prepared for this lack of physical cash! If your business does not accept card or contactless payment, this is certainly something to take action on before that final stage.


Nonetheless, it’s a journey we all share together, and although we’re not all in the same boat, we’re certainly in the same storm! The outlook from here is extremely optimistic and positive, and we wish all cafés a prosperous time during the spring and summer months!