For Coffee House Owners: Stay Top of Mind and Support Your Community

March 20, 2020 (Published: March 20, 2020)
Barista serving specialty coffee drink through drive-thru
Crimson Cup Coffee House Clintonville Ohio

Supporting the independent Coffee House Community – that’s what Crimson Cup is all about!

We’re sharing our experience, operations and communications tips to help coffee houses stay top of mind and support customers and team members.

Please feel welcome to use our examples when crafting your own posts. Reach out to us at if you have any questions.

Covid-19 Pandemic Restricts Coffee Shop Operations

As the nation fights to slow spread of the global pandemic, states and cities have imposed restrictions on restaurants – including coffee shops. Much of our coffee house community has been affected.

In Ohio, Governor DeWine ordered closure of bars and restaurants effective March 16. Carryout and was allowed to continue.

At our three Crimson Cup Coffee Houses, we updated some procedures the week before official orders came down. Keeping our cuppers and customers safe and informed was our top priority.

Keep Customers in the Know via Social Media

As soon as we received guidance from health officials on sanitary measures to combat the novel coronavirus, we updated internal operations and put out our first messages on Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business.

Message 1: On Health and Wellness

We are all about coffee and community. Your health and wellness are our top priority.

We have taken additional sanitary measures to keep everyone safe. You may notice a few changes to ensure a clean and healthy environment for us all. Let’s keep calm and stay caffeinated together.
Thank you for supporting your local coffee shop!

Message 2: Enjoy Carryout, Drive-thru and Delivery Service

Crimson Cup Coffee Houses Drive thruFollowing Governor DeWine’s order to close dine-in service, we sent out this message to our customers.

As many of you have already heard, beginning tomorrow our coffee shops will be open for drive-thru and carryout orders only.

Our Clintonville and Tallmadge shops offer both drive-thru and carryout while our Upper Arlington location will be accepting only carryout orders. Our hours will remain the same. You can also find the Clintonville and Upper Arlington coffee shops on UberEATS.

Your health and wellness are our top priority and we are continuing to take extra precautions to make sure that all of our customers and staff are safe. Thank you for continuing to support our coffee shops. Every cup of coffee counts!

Message 3: Gift Card Offer

Loyal customers are eager to support their favorite businesses! One way they can help is to buy gift cards, as expressed in this message.

A great way to support your favorite small businesses during this difficult time is to purchase gift cards.

All of our coffee shops are stocked with gift cards, ready to carry out with your coffee. If you load $50.00 onto a card, you get a free drink! #buylocal

Watch for More Sample Posts and Information

We plan to share updates with our customers as new developments arise. We’re an authentic company with real people and real emotions. Giving back is one of our core values.

Tips for Staying Top of Mind During the Crisis

In times of crisis, communications experts advise against overly commercial. Worried consumers need comfort and support. Bombarding them with marketing messages can appear insensitive and out of touch.

A better strategy is to build trust by sharing news and helpful information.

When times are tight, you may need to cut back on advertising. Social distancing puts low-cost grassroots efforts like door knocking off limits.

The good news is that it costs nothing communicate via your website and social media. Your customers are already spending a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram or checking Google My Business for hours  before leaving the house. Use these free platforms to .

  • Keep communicating. Your customers want to hear from you! You probably will want to post something new every day or so.
  • Post about any changes in hours and operations as soon as you can.
  • Continue to connect to your customers – even via the drive-thru.
  • Be real. Remember, that’s why customers love your local business!
  • Show empathy. These are hard times for everyone. Make sure customers and community partners know you are there for them.
  • Offer sales of coffee bags and gift cards to enhance cash flow.
  • Look into delivery services like Ubert EATS and Door Dash. Some have waived their fees.
  • Talk about what you’re doing to support your baristas. Consumers love to patronize companies that take care of their employees.
  • Offer opportunities for customers to support your baristas as business changes begin to impact your staff (customers want to help).
  • Show the behind-the-scenes. Photos and videos of baristas preparing drinks or a smiling face at the drive-thru window remind customers of your connection.
  • Help your community by sharing posts from nearby businesses and nonprofits.
  • Think about how you can be a resource and give back. For example, Crimson Cup’s Cold Brew Truck recently headed out to give free coffee to local first responders with this note.

Communicate Directly with Employees

A recent study showed that employees believe their employers more than any other source of information about the coronavirus. More than the government. More than the news media. More than family and friends.

Talk directly to employees. They need to hear from you. Daily updates are helpful.

If you have to deliver hard news, such as layoffs, make sure to gather all the facts before meeting with employees. Let them know what to expect.

Need Strategies to Survive the Covid-19 Recession? We’re Here to Help.

Since 1991, Crimson Cup has helped hundreds of independent coffee shop owners keep their doors open in good times and bad.

We have customers who survived the Great Recession after 2008. They are still in business today.

Please use us as a resource to help you cope with the challenges you face. We’re happy to put our experience to work for you.

If you have questions or want to set up a free, confidential call about your business, please reach out to us at Remember, everyone in the independent coffee house community is in this together. The more we share solutions, the faster we’ll overcome our common obstacles.

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