It’s been a busy first morning of Alert Level 3 for Upper Hutt coffee shop, Silverstream Espresso.
“The ordering app’s been going ping ping ping all morning, we sold out of scones by 7.30am!” Owner Kevin Hussey exclaimed.
The day started early, with food prep as well as a run through with staff about how the day was going to go and how to use the ordering app. Silverstream Espresso uses AppInstitute which has a dedicated Restaurant and Takeaway platform.
According to Kevin the app is intuitive and easy to use. Customers order via the app either on their phone, device, or on a desktop browser, once the order is placed it is sent to Silverstream via their email on their work iPad.
“Which also has our POS system on it. So we take the order, write it up on a whiteboard with the customer’s name and whether they’ve pre-paid or need to pay and we’re done.”
Silverstream used the same app during the 2020 lockdown, this meant that when they started the app back up this time around, their customer database was ready to go. This enabled them to send an email out letting customers know of the exciting first day deal - coffee and a scone for $8.50 (no wonder they sold out so fast).
“We could also let customers know that they could simply re-download the app if they needed to and their login would be the same, everything’s ready to go.”
Staying connected to his customer base is important to Kevin, it’s a close-knit community.
“We’re lucky we have about a 93 percent repeat rate, on any given day most of they customers we see have visited us already that week. We know their names, we know their coffees and they just want normality right now, so that’s what we're trying to give them.”
This relationship with their customers helped Silverstream weather the last COVID storm and is what will help get them through this time around.
“Our customers are amazing!”
Hospitality is so much more than food and drink, it’s an integral part of the fabric of a neighbourhood. For some Kiwis, that interaction with their local barista might be the only interaction they have all day. Hospitality is about community and people, which is why it’s important to not go dark, even during trying times.
“We got so many responses to our Facebook post telling people we would be open, people saying ‘Thank God!’ and ‘Best news I’ve heard all day!’”
Kevin’s staff have missed that customer interaction too with them all keen and eager to get back to it.
Generosity has a circular effect, customers grateful for the cafe being open have been telling Kevin and his staff to "keep the change", sometimes paying a lot more for their treats than the actual price. The generosity was so great during last lockdown, Kevin was able to pay it forward by asking for nominations from the community for people deserving of free coffee. Customers want to support and spend money with brands they feel connected to.
For those businesses in Auckland and Northland still stuck in Alert Level 4, Kevin’s advice is to get photos of what you’ll be offering at Alert Level 3, get signed up to an app, (Kevin highly recommends AppInstitute - “It’s really easy to put together and the customer support is great.”), and let your customers know that you’ll be back in business.
“People want your product so be proactive, don’t wait for Level 2.”
You can see how Silverstream Espresso looks on the AppInstitute here.
For more information about the app, visit www.appinstitute.com