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How Indonesian Coffee Shops Survive The Pandemic?

Nora Setiawan

May 26, 2020

Drinking coffee has become a tradition for Indonesians, from those who live in villages to urban areas. The culture of drinking coffee is also indiscriminate from students, workers, and retirees. It somehow triggers people to build more coffee shops across the country. Having a coffee shop business is tempting though because it can generate a lot of turnovers, and gain profit in the end. If you directly purchase at farmers costs only Rp80.000 per kg, while the cheapest coffee sells Rp15.000 per cup. Imagine, how much the net profit you can get a day.

There is no wonder why people have transformed their businesses into a coffee shop business. Unlike the other culinary businesses, the coffee shops tend to sell both its taste and its creative idea. There are many coffee shops that have unique names and interiors. By giving its unique identity, people would remember easily, and they can go back and forth to the coffee shops.

Unfortunately, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the markets, caused mass public shutdowns, and inspired anxiety all over the country. In March, the government reported that many food and beverage industries, including coffee shops, have experienced a decline in sales by approximately 30%, since coronavirus entered the country.

The government also mentioned, if the sales continue declining, there will be much food and beverage industry closing down. The coffee retailers need to prepare for a potential disruption in business. At least, they need to best prepare for the unknown possibility. In addition, they need to consider their obligations, both to co-workers and the community, to keep the public eating spaces as safe as possible. Before getting into the survival kits for local coffee shops, let’s take a look into how bad the situation is during the pandemic.

One of Indonesian coffee shops

The Coronavirus Invasion of Local Coffee Shops

According to local news, Anomali Coffee is fast adapting to the situation, as they close down the coffee shop, and instead of serving dine-in, they chose to transform their meals and coffee into the perfect packaging to takeout and delivery. Such as, they provide take away home food, a litre bottle of coffee, and coffee powder to brew at home.

The Ministry of Industry noted that Indonesian coffee sales fell around 50% – 90% during the epidemic. The Minister of Tourism and Economy Creative, Wishnutama urged that coffee entrepreneurs have to learn how to take the challenges and opportunities during and after the outbreak. The purchasing power in the midst and after a hard time would be so different.

The Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang added that coffee sales in Indonesia have declined since the physical distancing regulations. Therefore, coffee retailers need to think of alternative ways to bear the industry. The coffee industry in this country is very promising. As the country is 4th largest coffee bean producing, after Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia. In 2019, the coffee production here had reached 720.000 tons with the export value of processed coffee products of US$ 610 million.

Coffee farmers in Aceh complained about the drop in selling price up to 40%, from Rp10.000 fell into Rp5.800 per bamboo. In fact, there are currently 1.204 small and medium industries that process local coffee beans from local farmers. After all, the government has to take apart to make it survive through the pandemic. If not, the coffee industry would be stuck and have a little chance to remain open. Thus, there are things to do to minimize the effect though!


The Strategies To Survive

As we know it, over the past few years, the local coffee industry had seen a massive surge in popularity and helped boost Indonesia’s economy. However, the current situation with COVID-19 limits everybody’s movement and consequently slows down the growth of every sector of the economy, especially the local coffee industry.

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has teamed up with Tokopedia to set the campaign, #SatuDalamKopi to unite in helping to support the economy of the local coffee industry. There are around 800 coffee stalls to join the campaign on Tokopedia. The government fully supports the campaign and gives their appreciation for those who are involved. The effort is to maintain the sustainability of the coffee industry, also support the national economy.

They hope the collaboration can help coffee players to keep and expand their businesses. Other than that, the players have to innovate and adapt to the condition and limitations, through the digital platform. With the campaign, the coffee players are now broadening the business and selling coffee online is easier for the consumers. Now, which means by getting your favourite coffee to your doorstep, you already helped the support of the local coffee economy.

Another campaign, called #togoisnotacrime was made by 15 local coffee shops. These are, Ottoman’s Coffee, Amnesty Coffee, Two Coffee Beans, Common Ground, Copper Club, Kavove, Karakter Kopi, Kopi Lima Detik, Lokal, Obar Bali, Pigeonhole, Say Something, Sensory Lab, SOSITI, and ST. Ali. They collaborated and asked the customers to enjoy the coffee while you are at home, and promoted on social media using the hashtag #ngopidirumah (drinking coffee at home). The campaign also encouraged them to buy coffee for takeaway and delivery through Go Food and Grab Food.

These two campaigns hopefully can reassure people that they do not need to go to a coffee shop to drink the coffee, because, in the end, you can enjoy it with the same quality and taste. There are other ways to survive the coffee business too. Your coffee shop can be open, but it is only for a takeout order. However, the takeout order is working well, some people might be getting bored, and want to go outside to buy something. This could be an alternative too.

Offering a ready-to-brew product can fulfil your consumer’s craving. You can sell both its beans and powder, so they can enjoy coffee at home, which is much safer for them. Also, do not forget to throw the promotions, such as providing the coffee package, or buy one get 1 free, or serving a litre of coffee bottle, which you can consume within 3 days.

To believe every coffee shop is somehow unique and has its own place in the market. In the current critical time, it is necessary to support each other for the continuity of the local coffee businesses and to survive together.

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