New Report Shows Workers Are Still Skipping Coffee Shops

From fist bumps to food delivery, there is hardly an aspect of our lives that the COVID pandemic hasn't changed. We've had to adapt our social and professional lives accordingly, and WebMD notes that many pandemic-inspired modifications are here to stay. Retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and any business that relies on in-person transactions are finding it increasingly harder to stay afloat.

According to Food & Wine, coffee shops that once functioned as makeshift offices and fueled commuters on their way to work started struggling with business losses from pandemic restrictions in 2020. Independent coffee shops were hit harder than the big guys like Starbucks and Dunkin', but no java shop was immune to the financial blow-back of early pandemic shut-downs. As lattes went unsipped, coffee providers braced for the first decline in shop numbers since 2011.

The International Coffee Organization observed decreased coffee consumption credited to shop closures and pandemic restrictions. Social distancing requirements left many coffee shops empty, resulting in more consumers opting to make their coffee at home.

How remote work has affected coffee shops

As the pandemic continues, coffee shops struggling to regain business could use a double shot. According to Reuters, coffee shops hoping to improve declining sales brought on by the pandemic are still struggling to recover as most Americans are still working remotely, at least part-time.

Coffee shops that once heavily relied on commuters to pick up a cup of joe on their way to work are missing morning regulars as the pandemic created a new workplace from the home office. Even remote workers who occasionally stop by a local coffee shop near their home often opt to get their caffeine boost from the coffee maker on the kitchen countertop instead. Former commuters are keeping their to-go cups in the cabinet, as 41% of white-collar workers work from home full-time (WebMD).

Coffee shops hoping to boost finances ravaged by the pandemic might be disappointed by a weak brew. Remote work has proven effective for many industries; in an interview with Vox, Kate Lister, president of Global Workforce Analytics, predicted that 70% of able employees will be working from home in some capacity by 2025. A hybrid of remote and office work is expected to become the norm, but either way, coffee shops will again have to pivot and adapt to increase business.