Cups: gratitude for healthcare workers with a caffeine fix

Last week’s Recurrent highlighted the experience of Adrift Hospitality in preparing for the safe reopening of their hotels and restaurants under the new reality. This week, we would like to share with you how the pandemic impacted one of the businesses in the broader foodservice industry. 

Many things have changed in our routines and habits due to COVID-19 restrictions. But love and demand for coffee seem to have stayed. Though the "to-go" mode of operations was a usual practice for coffee shops, many still had to close or operate at limited capacity. In these uncertain times, coffee shops need support not only from caffeine lovers but also from their suppliers. SeaStrawsCo partner cups, a company that provides coffee shop owners around the country access to services and tools for their businesses, continues to support their cafe partners.

The current crisis has affected companies in the foodservice industry in both negative and positive ways. As with many other businesses, the reality of remote work has driven cups to come up with creative ways to keep the company's working dynamic and boost the team's mood. "At cups we've tried to retain the office spirit through daily kickoff meetings, oversharing of food photos, and a weekly cups film club," says Emily Miller, cups Director of Accounts. And most importantly, this situation gave cups "the opportunity to really take a step back and think about how we can better support our partners through COVID-19 and beyond.”

With that in mind, cups launched Coffee for Care, an initiative collecting donations to purchase coffee at local coffee shops that safely deliver coffee and pastries to nearby hospitals.Through Coffee for Care, the cups team wanted to support their partner coffee shops that remained open while also giving back to healthcare workers. Emily says: “We all felt we needed to do whatever we could to pitch in and provide any relief that we could; there was a general sentiment that everyone should be doing whatever they can” and “there was no better way for us to show support than with a dedicated, comforting caffeine fix.” Since the program’s launch, Coffee for Care has collected over $2,000 in donations that funded the caffeine fix of numerous medical workers and allowed “coffee lovers around the country to pitch in.”

COVID-19 restrictions decreased customer flow for many coffee shops and caused delays in the operations of their suppliers. But as Emily says, "the sense that we're all in this together prevails," and their "coffee shop partners understand that suppliers are operating with reduced work forces and social distancing challenges within their warehouses." As regulations keep changing, cups "had to be quick and nimble in collecting information in order to continue facilitating good service."

As states are entering or planning to enter the first stages of reopening, restaurants and coffee shops make adjustments in their operations to ensure their clients' and employees' safety. As for cups, Emily shared that the company is currently working to ensure they have access to all the materials their partner coffee shops need to reopen and stay open safely. Furthermore, cups is building out more resources for their partners "ranging from a breakdown of loans available for small businesses to staying on top of changing legislation to help keep our coffee shops equipped with all the information and tools they need to get through to the other side of this crisis." 

For individual consumers, there is still much support to show for business in the foodservice industry. Emily believes: “If you’re in a position to do so, putting money back into your local community makes all the difference,” and “beyond funds, there are ongoing initiatives to voice your support to local authorities.” We encourage you to sign the “Save America’s Restaurants” petition that Emily shared with us. This initiative calls for waiving payroll tax, permit and zoning requirements, to allow businesses more leniency in acclimating to stay home orders.

Consider showing support to coffee shops and health workers by donating to Coffee for Care. And don’t forget to buy a cup of coffee from your local coffee shop! As we all seek a sense of normalcy in these difficult times, some caffeine and the smell of freshly brewed coffee seems to be what we can really all use right now.

This article originally appeared in our Recurrent email newsletter on Wednesday, May 20. To subscribe and get an engaging story about our sustainable hospitality community every week, click here!

Written by Kathrine Serebrianski


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