During lockdown, Whittlesea Deli Cafe has sold thousands of coffees all with handwritten positive messages from staff to lift customers' spirits. Pictured from left, cafe owner David Cordell and baristas Rose Edward and Bethany Cordell.

A Whittlesea cafe has shared thousands of messages of hope and gratitude to customers via coffee cup lids.

During each lockdown this year, the staff at Whittlesea Deli Cafe on Church Street have written short, positive messages on every takeaway coffee cup to help lift sippers’ spirits, which has become a hit in the township.

Owner David Cordell said one of his baristas Rose Edward came up with the idea during 2020’s big lockdown and since then it had taken off, with all staff pitching in.

“[She] wrote on a lid for one of our customers because they were feeling a bit down,” Mr Cordell said.

“Now Rose actually takes them home at night and does them and brings them back in the morning.”

Making between 100 and 200 takeaway drinks per day, the team has written more than 100 different messages on thousands of cups this year, and Mr Cordell said he had seen an increase in business because of it.

“The word got out there and every morning everyone looks forward to what’s going to be on their cups. They come in all excited,” he said.

“It just cheers everyone up and makes them all chat outside [about the messages they received] and feel happy again before they all go off to work.”

Some customers have told him it’s the best part of their days, especially those who live alone. They’re also handing out free treats to dogs and lollies to children just to see them smile.

“We’re just trying to make everyone feel happy and enjoy their day because it’s pretty tough out there,” Mr Cordell said.

Mr Cordell said the messages have also been helping his staff, as well as him and his wife Amanda, who spends her weekends writing messages on ‘piles’ of lids at home.

He acknowledged his staff had been doing it tough in lockdown – though none had lost their jobs, their hours have been reduced – and that he was incredibly grateful.

“They all work hard and I’ve got a lot of respect for them. All of them are great but Rose has gone beyond,” he said.

“We couldn’t do what we’re doing at the moment without her.”

Whittlesea Deli Cafe will continue to share messages on coffee lids as long as they’re restricted to takeaway and not accepting keep cups for the sake of their staff’s safety.

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