All I know is I know nothing. Whatever I learn today, I must unlearn tomorrow. And here we go again! We are in this great compulsory life long learning process. This time around it's everyone across the globe going through a disruptive time, which feels less lonely in one way, but very new and overwhelming in another.
What's happening at The Garden Cafe?
On March 23rd we took the hard decision to close our table service at The Garden Cafe until further notice. We love opening our doors and sharing Garden Cafe with the local community and Granada visitors, but our top priority at this moment is contributing to everyone's health. We know that as an open door place we are able to greatly contribute to the increase or decrease of contagion rates.
As an answer to the current context, we have come up with safer ways to continue offering our food and beverages. Our team continues to work hard and with strict safety measures in place to deliver our delicious smoothies, espressos, teas, salads, sandwiches and meals. We have also opened a small side window for pick up services and thanks to Granada's architecture, cars can even drive thru (wink) to order our goodies. Most recently we also listed our menu online on our site so people can have a digital-friendly way to order.
Unfortunately our souvenir shop has been closed now for over six weeks, which is greatly impacting the dozens of small entrepreneurs and designers who sell their products with us. We do plan to list their products online soon, along with some of the great food products supplied by our providers as they are also hurting badly.
Based on many factors we had to let go 6 of our staff members for the time being, but we hope to get them back here as soon as possible. We are so proud of each of them as they adapt to uncertainty, new protocols, different communication vehicles and a brutal drop on the extra tip money they typically earned on top of their salaries.
We are currently employing 80% of our staff, despite the abysmal drop in our sales of up to 95%. As in other times, our commitment to our team is serious, they are the core of The Garden Cafe.
Most importantly, everyone is healthy!
We are currently following up on bits and pieces of news, monitoring numbers with different information groups in order to take the best decision possible with regards to reopening our doors. We do not have a projected date yet, but we have certainly began a process of planning, remodeling and most importantly training of our staff.
Transforming habits and social behavior is not a simple task and does not happen overnight, we are taking it seriously to develop new operation and sanitizing protocols but above all to work hard on developing awareness and firm commitment from each person in our team.
We believe foreign tourism will be a very slow recovery process, but we must start preparing today in order to offer a safe experience when the time comes. Local tourism will be a faster recovery, but we cannot disregard the fact that our local economy in general is heavily frayed. All in all, as responsible enterprises we must put health at the top of priority lists so we can offer safety and enjoyment to anyone who visits our venues and truthfully...our city.
What's happening in Granada?
Granada is once again quiet. As in the rest of the world there is currently no tourism. Most hotels are closed (or opened without guests). A few restaurants are still fully open, others are open for delivery and pick up only and others are fully closed; while gyms are closed, our great friends at Pure have been offering donation-based online sessions for customers and community; supermarkets and the municipal market continue to be open, lots of people are staying at home and wearing masks when going out. For all kinds of reasons, there is still a moderate percentage of the population who is not taking measures. Times are challenging for the business sector and as unemployment rates skyrocket, times are challenging for Granada in general.
On the positive side, disruptive times always bring opportunities for joint action, collaboration and solutions. This might be my favorite part about challenging periods. Having a network of people and businesses who automatically draw close to each other for support is priceless. We did it in 2018 and we immediately knew the roll this time around.
Over the last 6 weeks a few businesses have been connecting on a regular basis planning together on how to proceed: what should we do about closing or opening? what about staff? what actions can we implement to protect people? what products can we develop to bring solutions to current needs? How can we contribute to a better future? And beyond thinking of our own business models, how is our community hurting and what can we do?
3 great Granada collaboration stories from Covid-19 times:
1. Capacity building workshops: as lots of people are becoming unemployed and even those who are still employed are largely without much to do, we have been planning and executing free virtual capacity building workshops, lead by industry managers, owners or professionals in key topics. The workshops are mainly thought out for staff members and their families, but opened to everyone. We are still thinking of new topics to share with unemployed people as well as informal workers. Though there is tons of content online, having workshops that adapt to our unique reality is valuable.
2. Developing a re-opening strategic plan together: the path of dealing with a pandemic is quite unknown and intimidating for a business owner. Being able to bounce ideas with other people is a huge relief. Beyond bouncing ideas, we have been supporting each other in finding the supplies and equipment we need to improve our infrastructure, developing joint protocols and cross-training sessions for our teams.
3. A thoughtful community: one of the biggest realizations I had in 2018 was that in turbulent times we discover new friends, with whom we would have NEVER connected otherwise. We have been surprised by the generous support of so many of you. The facebook messages to check in, the comments on our posts, the delivery orders, the pictures at our new walk-thru window.
A few days into opening our walk-thru window a friend sent a photo of two antique, wooden window panels (check them out below) he had decided to repaint them into a beautiful turquoise shade, his next message said "I am painting them so you can hang them on the gates of your new window". Wow. How generous is that. All of these demonstrations of support are worth gold. We are humbled by this amazing community.
With all of this I just wanted to share a bit of what I see around me, I know everyone is going through disruptive times one way or another, perhaps asking themselves what is really going on, wondering how things will be after we sort this out, maybe going through a painful time. Or all of the above! So many questions, so few answers, but I have full confidence in our capacity to sort this out and hopefully design a better way to drive this thing called society.
For now, we are trying to get comfortable with discomfort and remembering that uncertainty can be addressed when we come to the present moment, giving thanks for the blessings and admiring the beauty still left around us.
Sending my best from Granada and hoping we can soon welcome you back,
P.D. We would love to hear from you, how are you doing where you are? how are you going through these times? E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.