Bristol Twenty Single Origin Coffee

Preparing For A Life After Lockdown

With lockdown looking to be relaxed for our industry around July in some way, we thought we’d look at ways businesses can adapt to bounce back and safeguard your business for life after lockdown with COVID-19.

Things are obviously not going to return to how they were previously and many of us are worried, not only about our business during the lockdown, but more importantly when the lockdown ends, what can we do to adapt to survive.

During Lockdown . . . 

Mental Health

One of the most important things is to take care of yourself, you need to be in the right mindset to get back to business. It is very easy to concentrate on the negative and you can easily fall down a rabbit hole of negativity. 

Think positively (this will end), get some rest, get enough sleep, take daily exercise, eat well, speak to friends and family that you don’t often get the chance to, enjoy the garden, and finally dedicate a few hours to concentrate on the business but don’t allow it to take over every waking moment.

Business Planning

Get you staff trained up. There are some great free or cheap resources online (such as CPL training) that will allow all of your staff to complete their food safety certificates, undergo a customer service course or learn social media marketing skills to help promote the business. 

Talk to competitors, business leaders and friends and family to gauge how they will be returning to the new normal life. This will help you adjust your business plan to suit how people will be shopping. 

Look after your staff and your suppliers if you can, they are your biggest asset and you will need them to return to normal business for life after lockdown.

Bristol Twenty - Life After Lockdown

Get Help

Ensure you are utilising the help that is out there. Below is a check list of the types of help that is available to small businesses

  • Government backed CBIL’s loans through banks
  • Government backed bounce back loans 
  • Government Staff Retention scheme to furlough staff 
  • Small Business rates grants 
  • VAT and Corporation Tax wait to pay 
  • Power to change – has launched a £12 million of emergency support for small businesses
  • Emergency business resilience support service 
  • Crowdfunding
  • Funding Circle – Government backed CBIL’s

Utilise the Government COVID help website that is constantly updated with all the schemes to help you now and for life after lockdown.

Bristol Twenty - Life After Lockdown - online
life after lockdown
Bristol Twenty - Life After Lockdown - social media

Get Online

Whilst it could still be a few weeks / months before you can safely re open to the public, your public are still there and they’re missing your product.

Social Media

If you haven’t already, get on social media and if anything over communicate with your customers. The more information you are able to give them the better. Show them your products, menus, what you’re doing in lockdown. Ask questions and get people to get involved, this tricks the algorithm into thinking you’re getting more engagement and will result in higher ratings. 

However try not to fall down a Twitter rabbit hole. Limit the time you spend on social media. Plan your social media posts for the week. There are some great apps such as Hootsuite that will allow you to schedule up to 30 free posts across the full range of social media.

Follow key people that will give you access to some great resources: Caterer, UK Hospitality, Jonathan Downy, Peninsula, Cafe, Boughtons Coffee House, John Richardson, Kaffeine

Online Platform

Even when we are able to open again; social distancing is something that will be in place for the foreseeable future. Now is the perfect time to create an online platform that you could start making use of straight away that will also benefit your business for life after lockdown. 

Whether it is an ordering portal to minimise contact time with customers or a full web shop for home delivery or curbside and in store collection; there are stacks of free or cheap options available. WooCommerce, Wix, Shopify, Go Daddy & WordPress are a few options, and with a little online training you can very easily set up an e-commerce site. A little effort now could really help with future sales and allow a smooth transition to the new normal.

As cash has already become an almost forgotten commodity, other ways of paying such as cards, Apple pay, Paypal are all becoming the new normal. A pre order and online payment system will reduce the cash contact and speed up your workflow. You can even allocate specific time slots for curbside collection, that will help with social distancing measures.

Need some help? Riley & Thomas are able to supply a full web design service.

Bristol Twenty online coffee shop

After Lockdown . . .

As we have said; social distancing is something that will be in place for the foreseeable future. Even without it people are going to be wary of returning to society until a vaccine is widely available. Therefore you have to plan how your business needs to be to continue in life after lockdown.


We’ve asked some industry leaders their predictions of what might happen in life after lockdown.

  • International tourism in the UK will be non-existent. This is estimated at £24 billion a year. However the UK tourism industry abroad which is estimated at £23 billion a year, will still be a source of revenue that needs to be tapped.
  • As with previous recessions and periods of economic problems: value for money and quality will be paramount in people’s spending. You need to ensure that what you offer is as attractive as it can be.
  • Coffee has always been considered an affordable luxury, even during tough economic times, which is great news for our industry. As things begin to return to normal coffee is one of the things that people will instantly take back up. So it’s worth being ready to take your share. Unfortunately the higher end restaurant offering will be the hardest hit, so that sector will need to diversify and alter their offering to reflect this.
  • As some of the bigger high street chains have been lost, and unfortunately some of the small businesses too; competition is going to be less so your share of the market could be bigger if approached correctly.
  • More people will continue to work from home, as it has proven so successful. This means that neighbourhood businesses are possibly going to fare better than city centre businesses as people will still want to take breaks and grab a coffee/lunch.
  • People will want to support local independent businesses, having a local sustainable ethos will encourage people to come to you. Using local suppliers does a multitude of good things from lower food miles to stimulating growth in your community.
  • Reusable cups that we have spent two years promoting will be out of the window for the time being, so you will need to look at environmentally friendly take away containers for everything.

As the process will probably be gradual,  you may be able to reintroduce your business in different guises at different stages for life after lockdown.

Helping to provide additional advice for retailers that are planning to reopen, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently released a set of guidance.

life after lockdown - delivery
life after lockdown - takeaway

Home Delivery

Currently there is no evidence that the COVID-19 can be transmitted through food. The virus attacks airways and lungs, and would find a very inhospitable environment in the stomach. By contrast, a recent study showed that it can survive on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours, which makes contamination through food packaging virtually possible. However, food safety authorities agree that the actual risk is very low, especially when everyone, from those producing the food to consumers, observe good hand hygiene practices.

If you have managed to get your online platform set up you could start with local home delivery. Alternatively utilise social media to spread the word and get orders. You can prepare at site and use your own delivery driver with social distancing practices in place. You can run a ready to eat selection that is similar to your grab and go selection in store. It would be best to limit the selection to reduce waste. 

The traditional ready-to-eat delivery model may not be the only way to offer delivery. You could also offer food that is cooked, chilled and packaged at the restaurant and then reheated at home. The additional reheating step eliminates any possible contamination and will give customers control over the safety of the dish they ordered.

You can diversify your offering to include retail items that you have in stock that people may need. This will increase your spend per head and make the delivery more worthwhile. A lot of your suppliers will offer a retail version of their products.

A great resource for the steps needed for a successful delivery service can be found on The Access Group website.

One great online resource for pubs looking to get into home delivery is Your Local Delivered, that has been launched to help those businesses that were forced to close their doors.

You would need to use social media and email drops to make people aware of your offer and utilitse sites such as Sustain, which lists a range of delivery services in local areas.

You can also utilise companies such as Just Eat, Deliveroo or Uber Eats, but these do come with high fees.

Consider Mealkits that people can use at home to produce something similar to what they would get in your establishment.  Look at Mindful Chef, Honest Burgers, Patty & Bun, Pizza Pilgrims’s ‘frying pan’ pizzas for inspiration.

If you have a product to sell that will travel further than your local area; there are some great sites such as The Food Market , Fooden or Big Barn that will help you facilitate this.

Take Out

As more people are allowed back into society, especially those at less risk, you could then offer take away in the form of click and collect or curbside collection. Click and collect allows the customer to place a custom order and then specify a time and day to retrieve it. This is a great way to tap further into customers close to your restaurant and win more of their business. It also adds convenience and safety for your customers by reducing their wait times and adding in flexibility. Being able to order and pay for a food order for next Tuesday, for example, makes the ordering experience more personal and convenient for the customer and helps the restaurant better plan for their upcoming business. Not having to deliver an order makes it not only more economical for the customer but for the restaurant as well.

Companies such at App4 , Carve Interactive or Goodtill are easy web based apps that will allow customers to order online for collection. 

You would need to implement enough social distancing practices to ensure the safety of your staff and customers. Such as a designated collection area that is at distance from anyone else.

I think as take away is reintroduced in whatever form, we will all need to be a lot more transparent about our practices. A few suggestions from some of our customers include

  • Display clear messages about your social distancing procedures
  • Display details of your cleaning processes (EHO have loads of helpful resources)
  • Clearly lay out your social distancing areas (ESE direct has loads of helpful resources)
  • No food on display in cake stands or customer facing fridges
  • Monitor staff for symptoms. Taking their temperature before a shift starts
  • Staff may need to be staggered or work shifts. A handy guide by the Government for staff shifts and staggering can be found here.
  • No reusable coffee cups
  • Take away cups need to be separated under sterile conditions (ie with gloves that are disposed of) so no touching of the rim during service
  • No lids, sugar, milk stirrers left out for people to help themselves. Offered with each drink
  • Hand sanitizer available to all. 
  • Customers served at the door or as close as possible
  • Doors left open when needed to be used.
  • No toilet facilities available to the public.

The website has the up to date guidance.

life after lockdown - takeaway
life after lockdown - reusable cups

Eat In

This is a tricky one as it will be much harder to install or police and until there is a vaccine, will probably be non existent. Once this is allowed again a few suggestions from industry leaders are: Customers will need to be distanced from each other and staff; your table plan will need to be revised and utilise your al fresco areas to make the best of the space. Table service only or counter service only, no mixing of the two. Completely separate areas for take away and eat in customers. Religious and routine cleaning will need to be carried out. Limited staff on shift. Life after lockdown will mean there will be restrictions on the numbers of customers in the site at a time.

Bristol Twenty - Life After Lockdown

Support Local

Now is the time to be supporting local as much as you can. There has been a big increase in small businesses working together and supporting each other.

We feel we must work together in our communities  to keep our vital independent businesses alive during these challenging times and to help everyone to look after those most in need.

Here are a few that we have got involved with . . .

The Bristol Lockdown Economy
Bristol Food Union
The Marketplace

If you are looking ahead to life after lockdown and you want to read more about Setting Up A Successful Coffee Shop then we have a recent blog post with lots of information and advice from our Sales Director, Rory

If you have any questions, queries or comments please feel free and get in touch, we love to chat! Please call us on 0843 557 4669 or if email is more your thing, we can be reached on

Recent Tweets

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!