We talked to: Cafe Evolution
We talked to Cafe Evolution
We recently had a lovely conversation with Trish and Star of Cafe Evolution. Find out what they had to say about how things are going in Pandemic Times and what's coming up!
How are things going overall for the business in these uncertain times?
We have been doing our best to make our new system work in the pandemic, offering online ordering and pop-up lunches/shops for our loyal patrons. People have really stuck with us and supported us, and we’ve remained transparent with our community about where we are at from week to week. People are truly respectful and appreciative of the fact that we are being so cautious and have not yet reopened for cafe traffic. We are also concerned about our community at large and about taking all precautions to ensure that folks stay safe and healthy. We feel very blessed by the support from our patrons and feel that we are truly servicing an extended family. Other restaurants have been hit harder in many ways because most operate with a bigger staff in tiny kitchens. Thankfully, when everything started, I (Star) went to our landlord immediately to discuss the option of paying what we could afford for the foreseeable, and our landlord agreed to that. If not for that, we’d have a totally different story. We’ll see how we pull out of this--only time will tell, and we are taking it one step at a time, working hard to feed our community while also keeping everyone safe.
How are you handling orders at this time, since you are not doing in-house dining?
We have committed to investing in online ordering through our website, which though expensive, is the best way to help us continue to feed our community in the safest way possible. We had considered delivery at one point, but quickly realized that driving around would become overwhelming after a few weeks. Also, after touching base with our patrons, we realized most did not want delivery--they wanted to come pick up their orders and connect with us.
As we go through different phases, we continue to ask for input from our patrons, and we assume that we’ll continue to pivot and things will shift and change as more folks are vaccinated and the warmer weather is upon us. This means we assign times for pickup (which is between 12PM and 3PM on Wednesdays), and people let us know when they are here so we can run their orders out and greet them. We are also offering pop-up lunch, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, which has been going really well. Some folks will call to order, if they are not as technically savvy or are perhaps just out and about in the neighborhood and are in the mood for a treat.
Are your customers adhering to the mask-wearing rule, or have you encountered some resistance?
(Trish) Thankfully, not in real life--only in nightmares! We’ve had a few people get a bit irritable when picking up their orders and had certain expectations or questioning why we are not yet open to in-house dining. Thankfully, we can shift quite quickly and not take things personally. We understand that everyone is going through their own challenging times in this pandemic, and ultimately, we are all in this together.
What positive things have you learned during this crazy time?
We’ve always had so much pride in both our food and our mission, but in this time we have taken it to another level. It feels very different--it feels like we are cooking for people at home. So many folks have expressed their gratitude and appreciation, saying they just don’t know how they would have made it through this time without us. Their pick-up times have become moments of escaping to reconnect with something that was always part of their routine. It’s a moment of feeling grounded and “normal” in a time that is anything but.
Is there any other information you’d like to share about your business?
We are still just taking this day by day, and seeing what each new phase brings. We have always had a few tables set up outside, and we’d love to be able to expand that, so that’s definitely something we will consider if and when we feel it’s safe. There is definitely a sense of hopefulness as more people get vaccinated and as we move into the warmer months. We want to be a part of that by embracing that hopefulness and we want to make a space for people to revel in it. We also want to give a huge shout-out to Unmi and Roger of Coco & the Cellar Bar. They are our neighbors and patrons, and we cannot thank them enough for the support, strength, and love they have given us in the past year. They not only sell our cupcakes at Coco, but have checked in so many times to offer kind words and just ask how we are doing. That’s what is so important and special about this community--we are all looking out for each other. We are hopeful about what is to come, and feel thankful to have established a model that works best for us right now and also supports the community we love to feed.