News / Community / Business / 15th July 2020
TAKE FIVE: wth Jacinta Lowrie from Cardians Coffee Lounge
Tell me about your business:
Cardians Coffee Lounge has been operating for many years in the Strand Arcade in Coonabarabran. I started working here as a kitchen hand when I was 11 and I purchased the business when I was 19.
I've been running the business for nearly six years now and we have a team of six to eight staff. We’re also the only cafe in town that has the opportunity to train apprentice chefs, and we have already trained two chefs.
How has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Quite majorly. We had to close our dining room for several months and only serve takeaway. We also had to reduce staff hours, but were fortunate to not let anyone go.
How did it make you feel having to scale back operations due to COVID-19 restrictions?
Pretty crappy. I said to my accountant, “I never in a million years thought I would fail because of something like this.” I was determined not to close our doors - that was my main aim - and we have managed to achieve that and continue to be there for the community.
What current measures do you have in place to adhere to social distancing and hygiene requirements?
Currently we can only have 18 seated in the restaurant at any one time. Customers are also required to order and pay at the counter. We’ve increased our cleaning operation and have a adopted a COVID safe plan. We are taking heed of advice as it becomes available.
Have customers adapted well to the changes?
On a whole, most people are doing the right thing, but it is difficult to say no to our regular customers when we are at capacity. Unfortunately these are requirements we have to adhere to.
The Meals on Wheels vouchers have been a great initiative that has seen some new customers through the doors that I wouldn’t normally get. I think people are also starting to realise that our menu is available for takeaway. That side of the business has really taken off too!
What’s been popular on the menu during these cool days?
Along with our regular menu, we have seasonal daily specials. Obviously soups and heartier meals are more popular during winter. But coffee is always in high demand!
Are you concerned that with increased COVID-19 cases in Sydney and Victoria, tougher restrictions may come back into force in the coming weeks?
Yes, I think we have the potential to go back into lockdown. For us, this will mean we would have to go back to our takeaway menus and meals. Even though we’ve been through it once before, I hope we won’t get to that point again.
As a young business owner, did you ever think that your business would be significantly impacted by a global pandemic?
Never! If things were weren’t going well in the restaurant, I would make plans to change or adapt what we were doing, but with COVID-19, the whole situation is out of our control.
How can local people help local businesses, now and into the future?
It’s pretty simple, support local businesses. Not just me, but all of the businesses. Everyone is doing it pretty tough at the moment.