BY HANNAH COHEN
A Bentleigh East cafe has changed its business model in a bid to provide for vulnerable residents and survive the business crush brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boosa cafe joined tens-of-thousand of businesses fighting to stay afloat when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the closure of all pubs, clubs and cinemas - permitting restaurants to provide takeaway food only.
The Middle-Eastern inspired cafe has begun selling an additional selection of staple items from local suppliers, meaning the elderly and vulnerable can stock up on pantry basics without having to go to major supermarkets.
Boosa owners, husband and wife team Tammy and Eitam Brami, hope the initiative will boost business while supporting the community.
“For us it was kind of like going into survival mode,” Ms Brami said.
The couple has taken note of current food shortages in order to meet the demands of the community.
“We have a lot of older customers. I don’t want them to go to the supermarket feeling anxious and pushing in front of other people to get things,” she said.
“We were already selling bread and coffee beans and stuff and then we just started to add things as people needed it. Now every day we are adding new things.”
Ms Brami said the “biggest impact” of the initiative was through supporting local businesses.
Ms Brami said staff morale has been “unbelievable”, despite employment becoming increasingly fragile.
“Even if I can break-even and keep my staff working, then that’s good for me right now. We have already cut one staff member, unfortunately, which is really sad.”
She said she is “determined” to keep her long-term staff employed and to remain open, but is taking it “hour by hour'' with the frequent updates issued by the Federal Government.
“For us, cafes and hospitality is about bringing fun, happy experiences for people. So, actually, I think my role is more important now than it ever was because I still want to do that,” Ms Brami said.
The owners of Boosa have also prepared for a mandatory shut down of non-essential services by registering with UberEats, so they can continue operating by providing food delivery during the crisis.
“We are husband and wife, we work together so we have to continue to make money. But it’s so much more than that.”