Cafe Future-Proofs for Unpredictable Alert Levels

photo credit: Sentinel Cafe

Hamilton's Sentinel Cafe, which opened in March, has future-proofed itself with a street-facing serving window as New Zealand rides the waves of the pandemic alert levels.

More businesses are looking at making changes to make it easier to operate under the restrictions of a Covid environment, said Restaurant Association.

Sentinel Cafe's co-owner Al Belcher said the window would allow the cafe to operate in and out of the different levels. If not, they would have a nice feature window where they could still hand out takeaways and pick-up.

The window means the cafe could serve customers without them entering the premising and operate at alert level 3.

The current Covid situation is unlikely to blow over, and it is likely how we go about life and interacting with people could change. Belcher suggested new businesses take the current and future situation into consideration.

Sentinel's seating layout was also carefully considered, said Belcher, with tables of various sizes and space between them.

The cafe also has an app for online ordering and delivers to the CBD.

Belcher will utilise what he has learnt with Sentinel for his new cafe opening in October.

The new site will be inside a building instead of on the street, but there will be a takeaway option, a delivery option and an app, so the cafe can operate contactless if need be.

Layout options are a big consideration in the future of the hospitality sector, said Marisa Bidois, chief executive of Restaurant Association.

Restrictions are likely to be around for a while, so having adaptable layouts would allow businesses to operate during the different levels and increase capacity during level 1, she added.