French takeaway and coffee are booming during the lockdown, but restaurants are failing


Share on Facebook, Tweet on TwitterMangez bien! Around the corner, customers queue up for the famous Croque Monsieur and coffee quality.

The pop-up takeaway café, Chez Mademoiselle, is booming in the artsy Prahran neighborhood.

Some mornings, the queues are so long that they have been featured in the evening news.

Chez Mademoiselle had doubled in turnover since 2020, when the first lockdown was implemented. Home workers are queuing up to get their morning coffee.

Why is this sidewalk café such a winner?

The location is essential. The apartment is located in Prahran, an area just 5km from Melbourne’s CBD that’s known for its strong LGBTQ community and culinary flair. Prahran has many apartment dwellers working from home instead of commuting.

Kevin Tribet, manager of Chez Mademoiselle, says that with the nation under lockdown in 2020 and for much of this past year, Australian takeaway foods grew by 20 percent compared to last year.

Chez Mademoiselle sells between 1500 and 1800 cups of coffee a week. They also do a lot of “sandwich bags” with ham and cheese, or halloumi and avocado on a baguette and even a vegetarian version.

Tribet reports they have doubled their weekly sales for coffee and takeaway foods since February 2020.

Customers have been coming back to lockdowns lockdown after lockdown because of contactless payments, hygiene, and loyalty programs.

“We are seeing many young people who used to travel to work but now work from home. They just kept coming back every day after the first lockdown.

We also offer a contactless card system whereby regular customers can place their personalized cards on a window to thank them for their continued support during these difficult times. Staff members stamp the cards. Every seventh coffee is free.

“Our prices tend to be about 10% less than the average in Melbourne. A regular coffee costs $3.80, and a large one $4.30.

The price of coffee in Melbourne varies from $4.50 for a small cup to $6 for a large one, plus extra milk or amenities. In difficult times, people appreciate good value and customer service. “Of course, the French food is also a great addition.”

David Brandi, owner of Chez Mademoiselle, and 15 other businesses, including Melbourne Swimming Club and Australian Pipe & Tube, says that customer loyalty and innovation are essential to COVID’s survival.

“We have extensive experience with French cuisine through our fine dining restaurant Chez Olivier. Fine dining suffered during the lockdown. As soon as the lockdown for 2020 was over, it bounced back. I’m sure that will also happen after this lockdown.

Our extensive customer base loves anything French at Chez Olivier. It was a simple ‘pivot,’ then, to expand to Prahran takeaway. Next, we plan to become a French deli food purveyor with a retail area in our cafe.

We will also open two new hospitality venues in the coming year – Cocktails & Dreams and Let’s Grind.

Tribet is a chef with extensive culinary and catering experience. She has a Diploma in Hotel and Management from CFA des Douets University.

Albert Einstein said, “We should not strive to be successful, but rather to be valuable.” People crave human contact when they don’t get to see other people. Also, they want good coffee and the occasional freebie. They also expect efficient service. “If you follow this advice, you’ll never go wrong.”

David Brandi says that it is essential to understand consumer behavior, as well as the fact that consumer needs are changing rapidly.

The pandemic is affecting consumer loyalty across the board. If you do not adapt to the new norms quickly enough, your customers may say: “I’ll go with someone else.”

“It used to be that you could stamp a card with ‘Buy ten coffees, get one free.’ One out of seven coffees is free.

“Overseas Covid-19 has quickly introduced several new loyalty innovations. For example, buy two meals and donate the third meal to a first responder.

The industry has also seen innovations in “food travel,” like wine in a box (premium-quality boxed wines instead of old-fashioned papsak barrel wine) and canned wine for wine lovers on the move. Over the next few decades, we’ll see significant changes to loyalty programs.

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