How Cafes can Adapt to Covid Restrictions

The world we know has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 Pandemic. The hospitality industry in particular, has taken a massive hit in Australia with constant restrictions and limitations placed on everyday trade. We’ve created a list of changes you can make to keep your business running with the list of restrictions currently in place.

The hospitality industry in Australia has certainly risen to the challenge though, with businesses adopting new practices to bring in revenue and increase cashflow.

Keep in mind, that if restrictions state you must cease trade temporarily, that is probably the safest thing to do!


  1. Reduced Venue Capacity
  2. Supporting Staff
  3. Government Assistance
  4. Takeaway, Takeaway: Food delivery, Apps and In-House


Reduced Venue Capacity

Most cafés and restaurants in Australia have taken the hit of a reduced venue capacity to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately for businesses, this means less customers, less work, and less revenue. Additionally, this also means that there’s less work to give your staff.

There’s many ways to increase revenue and provide work to your staff that we explore later in this article, but unfortunately reducing staff hours may be necessary in order to stay afloat.


Supporting Staff

Supporting your staff during the pandemic restrictions is important for the business, and the employees. You can support your staff by staying in communication.

Send out employee wide text messages on expected upcoming changes and the business position. Communication with staff leads to greater staff retention and less stress for everyone during a stressful situation. Offering your staff support from a mental health perspective during this time is definitely something we recommend.

Ensure your staff are aware of roster changes and government regulations to help them through this time.


The government guidelines state that requesting employees differ from their usual role within reason is absolutely fine, so make sure to give your staff whatever work you can, when you can.



Government Assistance

There have been a number of government assistance initiatives for small to medium businesses since the pandemic hit.

These include, but are not limited to:

The Job Keeper supplementary wage top up

SME Recovery Loan Scheme

Assistance for affected regions, communities, and industries

Cash flow support

JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme


There are also some initiatives where hospitality businesses can have fees waived from their telecommunications providers.


You can read about government assistance options HERE.


Takeaway, Takeaway! Food delivery, Apps and In-House

Adapting to reduced venue capacity doesn’t have to mean reduced trade. Just because your customers can’t sit down for a meal, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to eat your food or drink your coffee!

Many cafés have been signing up to food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Menu Log. In some cases, this has actually seen businesses with more cashflow than before the pandemic.

More people are working from home and relying on takeaway than every before, so it’s definitely something to consider.


If you don’t love the idea of signing up to a food delivery service, you can create more work for your employees by starting your own in-house delivery. This is a fantastic way to keep staff employed until covid restrictions ease.

Either way, starting some form of food delivery service can expand your customer base from regulars and walk in traffic, to as far as you are willing to go to deliver food.

This means that after covid restrictions end, you will already have new customers who love your food waiting to visit.


Increasing takeaway sales at your café will arguably need some marketing, so make sure to jump on social media and let your customers know, and don’t be afraid to ask for your customers’ support. Most regulars will go out of their way to support their favourite local coffee shop.

You can also promote gift cards for your business as gift ideas. Dine in or takeaway vouchers make great gift ideas and while promoting increased patronage later, provide instant cash flow for the business now.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask your staff. Get together for a Brainstorming session. You will be amazed what ideas might come up and this is a good Team building exercise.


The amount of information is overload, we found the Government sites in each state the most helpful, try to distance yourself from the "Grapevine talk'' or over sensationalist media reports.


We found the Employsure Youtube Channel a great resource.

Ken Burgin, "Hospo Business expert" Resources are also great. 

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