Gap Coffee, Bridgend, Co Donegal is opening for business with closed doors and a new safety-focused online order & collect service this Thursday 28th May.

“We’re launching our own app so people can pay and pick-up their favourite treats from a special new hatch without coming inside,” says co-owner Paul McGuiggan. You can download their new order and collect app HERE, or find it on their Facebook Page HERE.

If Apps aren’t your thing, Paul says they’ll also take orders on-site and offer a “phone and collect” at 00353 74 93 68001.  Gap Coffee will be open from 8am to 4pm with a later opening of 9am at weekends.

The quirky café on the busy Derry to Letterkenny road is popular with Derry and Inishowen folk and is also a favourite spot for many businesspeople who use it as a meeting place.

When Gap coffee closed the doors in the afternoon of 12th March, it was the first to do in Inishowen. The owners determined that they simply could not provide a safe space for customers and staff in the face of the arriving pandemic.

“It used to be that’ Great coffee and Tasty Homemade Food and Treats’ was the top of our agenda and while those qualities will stay, SAFETY is now of paramount importance,” says Paul.

“These are very difficult times, for the café/restaurant sector. Reopening a sit-in business on 28th June with social distancing can be achieved. However, successfully trading with potentially less than 40% of your tables just isn’t viable option,” he adds.

“We hope that the Government, who have the unenviable job of seeing everyone to safety, will in time get to helping the hospitality trade back on its feet! For our part, Gap Coffee resolved to explore every opportunity to service our customers, and secure jobs.

“Starting on 28th May, we are launching our online order and collect service which puts safety at the top of their agenda, using a new phone app. Customers simply order online and pick a time-slot of their choosing to collect and pay. For safety, this is to be a cashless operation and time slots will avoid the creation of queues of people outside. So simple planning ahead should make this an easy to use solution.”

Gap is also launching a revised menu, says Anne Doherty, also joint owner of the café. This will cover teas and coffees, breakfast, lunches and their famous treats – everything from cakes to muffins to tarts and more. Food is made fresh on the premises every day. Anne has kept in touch with customers during lockdown via Facebook, posting recipes of some of the café’s most popular treats to cheer people up.

“The uptake in baking has been immense with many customers posting their success on the Gap Facebook page. Ingredients such as flour and yeast – and more – will be available to buy and collect here as well so that everyone can keep up their interest.”

Anne says that they look at other businesses too “and see that they are trying lots of different things to see what works. We will have to work hard at ways to change and survive. So far, we have had to change the building with a new entrance, different seating, a revised menu, and new tech for ordering. So, we’ll simply have to wait and see where this takes us our business into the months ahead.”