Islington coffee shops on the struggles of staying afloat in lockdown

Kipferl Cafe on Camden Passage. 

Kipferl Cafe on Camden Passage. - Credit: Kipferl

Two coffee shops in Islington have shared their lockdown experiences and how they are managing with a reduced number of customers.

Since going into lockdown, Kipferl, an Austrian coffeehouse and kitchen based in Camden Passage, has only been profitable in August 2020, and this was in large part due to the introduction of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme.

Kipferl apple strudel

An apple strudel - "ApfelStrudel" in German - from Kipferl. - Credit: Kipferl

The government scheme helped businesses by subsidising 50 per cent of customer orders every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August.

Other months have either seen the business break even or make losses.

Between Tier 3 and 4, the number of orders Kipferl would usually receive has gone down by 75pc. This plummeted by a further 15pc in Tier 5, meaning that the company is only receiving 10pc of its usual orders.

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Although it is in the process of obtaining a grant worth up to £9,000, this still would not cover a month’s running costs.

The business is also in discussion with its landlord about reducing its rent.

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Although Kipferl offers dine-in and takeaway services, it may still close until the current lockdown is lifted due to a lack of custom.

Co-owner Hubert Zanier, 46, said: “Business has almost died down, we have not been profitable in the last two months. It has really gone in the wrong direction.

“However, I am hopeful that the locals will remain loyal and continue shopping with us.”

St Paul Islington, which is a coffee shop based on 274b St Paul’s Road, is also struggling with business.

It offers dine-in services, although the majority of its orders are for takeaway from outside the café to ensure that all Covid-19 guidelines are followed.

A spokesperson for the business, Stuart Hudson, 42, said: “The situation we find ourselves in is pretty dire.

"Income is lower than any of the previous lockdowns.

"If you can, please buy and shop local, we need to be supporting one another in this period otherwise the places you know and love will not be able to overcome this challenging period.”

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