Over the past 21 years it has been our privilege to champion the meteoric rise of coffee shops from high street phenomenon to an ingrained part of lifestyles around the world.
During this time we’ve overcome many challenges. We’ve endured the bursting of the dot-com bubble, 9/11, the London 7/7 bombings and the 2008 financial crisis. Most recently the UK and its European partners have been navigating the hurdles posed by Brexit.
However, I don’t think any of us could have foretold a crisis on the scale and magnitude that the COVID-19 pandemic presents today. We are truly in uncharted territory.
Coronavirus is already having a profound impact on the coffee industry. Its ramifications will be felt for many months, perhaps even years. Sadly, we may be yet to experience the worst of what is to come.
In these difficult times the coffee industry must hold firm to what I believe have always been its strongest assets: Community, ingenuity, resilience and an unflinching commitment to both staff and customers.
In preparing her nation for a period a self-isolation on March 23, I don’t believe any world leader has conveyed the imperative to safeguard lives more effectively than New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:
“Everything you will all give up for the next few weeks, all of the lost contact with others, all of the isolation… will literally save lives. Thousands of lives.”
That is why, in cognisance of the economic damage social distancing and shutdowns will cause, Allegra Group supports the UK government’s (and other governments around the world) decision to close hospitality businesses in order to impede this Coronavirus outbreak.
We strongly welcome government moves around the globe to support workers who would otherwise lose their jobs but we urge rapid execution of these support processes.
Allegra Group itself is not invulnerable to the current crisis, but I want to assure our partners that we will continue to proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends and partners in the wonderful world of coffee in UK and around the globe:
- We will continue to generate knowledge and thought leadership from our unparalleled network of industry leaders and expertise
- We will continue to provide an open and transparent platform to ensure that the collective industry voice is heard
- We will continue to champion our shared values, defend businesses and harness the coffee industry’s collective strength in this time of adversity
- We will continue to listen to the coffee industry and lobby governments for the strongest possible action to safeguard jobs and livelihoods and ensure that policy promises are fulfilled
- We will provide regular updates and knowledge to help businesses re-emerge effectively from this crisis
These are uniquely challenging times, but as Allegra has consistently observed over more than two decades, coffee shops, roasteries and industry service providers remain some of the most agile, resilient and adaptable businesses in the world economy.
The industry has overcome adversity before and it will rise again. If COVID-19 has any upside, it is the opportunity for us all to assert our humanity and to find ways to live life more simply. Together, we will fight for a better tomorrow and together we will emerge stronger than ever.
Allegra Group Founder & CEO, Jeffrey Young