The questions over the long-lasting impact of the coronavirus on daily life and the global economy have taken center stage in recent weeks, but for small business owners — the grim reality of this lockdown is already here.
Coronavirus has brought the booming service industry in Prague to a grinding halt, with restaurants and bars forced to close. As a result, businesses have had to try and adapt in order to make sure there are doors left to reopen when the restrictions finally lift. Many restaurants are now offering takeout as well as delivery menus on services like DameJidlo or Wolt.
Bars owners are facing a slightly different challenge — how do we adapt when our main value is directly tied to our communities and environment?
“People pay more for beers in bars than they do in shops, but it’s for the entire experience,” says Bar No. 7 owner Tommy Poole. “You go out to a bar to meet people, make new friends, and have a good time. It’s harder to convince people to buy a drink from me when there’s no social interaction.”
Bar No.7 is a cozy, well-known bar in Prague that has been in operation for nearly a decade. Popular for its affordable happy hour deals, and friendly atmosphere — it has become a favorite spot to meet up for many locals.
“Our customers are more than just customers — they’re friends. We’re very proud of the community we have built over the years,” says Tommy Poole. “It’s been hard to face that we might not be able to recover, but we’re ready to fight for as long as we can.”
In response to the current situation, Bar No. 7 has decided to adapt by launching Bar No. 7 2U — a service that sells and delivers fresh beer from Únětický pivovar around the city.
The service is simple: Place an order and get fresh 1.5L bottles of unfiltered Únětické beer.
It’s also possible to pick up your order from Bar No. 7 as long as you come alone and wear a mask. Currently, orders are made using an online form, but they hope to launch a website soon and have also opened an online bar to allow people to meet up virtually.
“We wanted to offer a service in return to people who want to help, and it was also important that we do our part to help other local businesses,” Poole notes. “The beer we sell is from Únětický pivovar. It’s not possible to buy in the shops and just like us, many breweries have lost virtually all of their revenues overnight.”
Poole is working hard to improve the process and communication as much as possible — and he’s got a lot of motivation. “There’s a lot at stake, beyond the business itself, people are depending on me and I don’t want to think about letting them down.”
For now, Bar No. 7 is grateful for the support and hopes that people will think about reaching out to support any of their favorite small bars, breweries, and businesses.
“Times are tough for a lot of people at the moment, so we know it’s not possible for everyone to help in this situation. But if you can, I am sure it would mean a lot. This is the time to support local businesses as much as possible — so they are still around after all of this is over.”