How dining at your local cafe in the months to come helps everyone

The flow-on effects of Australians visiting their local restaurants and cafes as the economy reopens are life-changing for so many more Australians than they realise.

We run Bondi Chai, an Australian company that got heavily hit by COVID-19 as cafes closed down across the country and demand for the product stalled.

We're only now starting to see light on the horizon.

In March, we went from having our best-ever month to our worst-ever week.

One of the key things about chai, in particular, is that it is the kind of product people like to enjoy when relaxing and sitting down - it's not as popular in takeaway, which is the only service some cafes were able to keep providing.

Once the ability to sit down in cafes went away, our business got hit very hard and we're only now starting to see the way back.

The biggest thing for us, as an Australian business that employs local people and supplies cafes around the world, is that people head down to sit and enjoy their local cafes as soon as possible. The flow-on effects of that simple action are huge.

The amount of people whose livelihoods rely on patronage of local food and drink businesses was more significant that most Australians may have considered, including:

Suppliers: Companies that supply cafes with their produce and ingredients took a big hit. The grand majority of cafes around the country use local suppliers, all of whom employ other Australians.

Delivery drivers: While delivery to homes became all the rage over COVID-19, delivery to businesses is another large industry looking to get back on its feet.

Mum and Dad investors: Many cafes aren't just run by locals, they're also owned and possibly invested in by locals. Those investors are often friends, neighbours and family members who urgently need a lift in business.

Maintenance: Even the people that fix your local coffee machine have been hit by COVID-19 - it's amazing how many people this has reached.

We hope one silver lining of the torrid last few months is that people take a bit more time over simple pleasures and take the time to think about what they're purchasing and why.

Taking that extra moment to ask if you're buying Australian and thinking about who your purchase may help is going to make a significant difference.

One of the things we hope comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic is people are more considered over how they spend their time and money, because we've seen how fragile and interconnected the economy is - and how reliant we all are on each other.

  • Martin Buggy is the co-founder of Bondi Chai
This story How dining at your local cafe in the months to come helps everyone first appeared on The Canberra Times.