Surviving under pressure

Just one of the items on offer via Five Sparrows'' Takeaway Menu

By Jonathan Mcquie

As cafes and restaurants around Melbourne struggle to stay open with the additional restrictions on public movement, Berwick establishment Five Sparrows is still running in order to support its workers.

According to cafe owner Sophie Rayment, the business is remaining open to ensure that the staff can still be paid.

“We’ve got a small team of people, with only eight different people, meaning that there’s eight different families who are affected by this, and they really matter to us. We’re trying our best to provide for them.”

Since the business started seven years ago, they’ve had a strong takeaway component, with customers able to order from them online or via UberEats.

They’ve also streamlined their menu to reduce food wastage if the cafe is shut down and also to increase the kitchen’s efficiency.

Despite the takeaway component continuing to run, the business is still facing significant financial pressure as sales have dropped by over 50 per cent.

“We will only be able to survive if we don’t have to pay rent. We’re purely making money based on our online presence, not our physical location.”

The cafe is in the Eden Rise shopping complex, which sent around a circular asking businesses to check if their insurance companies could cover rent.

Unfortunately for Five Sparrows, their insurer won’t cover losses incurred from Covid-19.

In order to ensure that the business survives as long as possible, the owners aren’t taking a wage.

“If the government can ease the pressure on the rent of borrowers and force shutdowns so that our staff can get something, that’d be very helpful. I would prefer to stay open as long as I can, but at the end of the day the focus is on the staff.”

Those wishing to purchase from Five Sparrows can do so via UberEats or the cafe’s website fivesparrows.com.au

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