AN expat cafe has seen its sales rocket compared to takings before the coronavirus lockdown.

Caffe Milano, run by a British-Italian family in Javea, immediately adapted to state of alarm rules by launching an online shop to keep customers engaged.

Co-owner Matt Lewis told the Olive Press he and wife Federica ‘never thought about the situation as a crisis’, but ‘an opportunity’.

Matt Lewis With Wife Federica 1
Caffe Milano team Matt, left, and Federica, right, on one of many personal deliveries around the Marina Alta

“Crisis? There were restrictions, but I would call it a challenge,” he said.

“We kept in touch with our customers via social media, advertising and personally delivering ground and roasted coffee beans to Javea, Denia, Moraira and Alicante each week.

“In between roasting coffee at the shop (with the music on slightly louder than normal) and deliveries, we started to see an increase in demand each week.

“I taught myself how to build an online shop so that we could have a window to the world and facilitate deliveries via UPS. 

“We always planned to have an online shop and the state of alarm helped facilitate the time to be creative and adapt and think about opportunities.”

Caffe Milano
Matt with bags of ground coffee and coffee beans ready for sale worldwide

After seeing a ‘five times’ increase in retail coffee beans and ground coffee, Matt began seeing orders from Italy, the UK, Netherlands, Germany and even Australia.

The authorisation of pre-ordered takeaways – paninis, salads and cakes – during ‘phase 0’ of lockdown then saw like-for-like food and drink sales compared to pre-lockdown weekly takings.

“The past weeks with only the terrace being open, sales were then actually higher than average weekly sales with ‘Click and Collect’ still being used in addition to the terrace,” Matt added.

With the added intention of creating an online store for future Caffe Milano-brand cafes, Matt said he has also received a ‘record number’ of franchise inquiries from Spain and abroad.

Matt Lewis Co Owner Of Caffe Milano 1
Matt told the Olive Press he made 80% of deliveries in Alicante, with 20% by UPS, before switching to current 100% UPS deliveries and a click and collect service
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