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Local coffee shops adapting as more people work remotely

Local coffee shops adapting
Posted at 10:36 AM, Jan 05, 2023

PARKER, Colo. — Business and economy experts agree that many businesses have recovered after the start of the pandemic. However, studies suggest coffee shops may have a tougher time navigating the post-pandemic world.

While demand for coffee is on the rise, studies show that out-of-home coffee consumers have dropped by seven percent.

This change has forced shops to come up with innovative ways to bring in more customers.

"I think pre-COVID, we forgot about local businesses and then through COVID, we saw the struggle that came about,” said Madison Mitchell, the owner of Deja Brew in Parker, Colorado. "I think, during 2019, I think, all they wanted was a place to go and a place to be and be comfortable to have a community and have a family and it was stripped from everybody."

The art and ambiance of the coffee shop for nearly two years had to go dormant due to the pandemic. Now, it would seem things are back to normal and even new coffee shops like Deja Brew owned by Mitchell have opened up this year.

"Coffee shops really need to think about how they're going to keep these remote workers and how the remote workers are going to stick around at their shop,” said Stephan Weiler, a professor of economics at Colorado State University.

Coffee prices increased in 2022, nearly 22% higher than in 2021. Studies show that out-of-home coffee consumption was 35% in 2019, but that number dropped to 27% in 2022.

"It comes down to local shops doing things to make it attractive for remote workers,” Weiler said. “Simple things no one would automatically think about – outlets, good WiFi. And extended hours, really, I think partially for students because online learning has gone up significantly since the pandemic."

"Now, I've upped my WiFi 'cause there's so many people in here working, 'cause so many jobs switched from being in person and having social interaction to now this is their office,” Mitchell said. "But now, we have this conference room... where people can rent this out by the hour. They can come in here, study, do their small groups, college study sessions where they don't feel like they're out in the open as much as they use to."

Coffee shops across the country are now needing to change their business models and find new ways to bring customers in while creating profits.

Weiler suggests rewards programs, more outlets and investing in renting rooms for people to have conference meetings are private rooms to get work done and charge by the hour.

Mitchell is one of many shops across the country trying to bring back relaxing vibes to accommodate the new remote-working consumer.

"I want to bring that culture back because we got to a place as a whole where we weren't as unified,” Mitchell said. “So, I think people just jumped to a place they could, to get back to a normal routine and I feel like coffee shops could have been that initial start."