How is Coffee Catering Business in Amsterdam Surviving the Pandemic?

Julia Skupchenko
4 min readAug 19, 2020


In Amsterdam, where the lockdown has been lifted in June, the business is still slow. Many people were tired of being confined for months. As soon as they had an opportunity they tried to get away from home as far as possible. They booked long vacations in other countries, leaving Amsterdam quiet for the summer. The people who remained in the city still have to keep the distance which takes away the fun from socializing.

If you run a catering business for gatherings and events, like the guest of our new episode Lockdown Economy, it makes you seriously wonder about the future of your company. Dave van der Aar is the owner and head barista of Coffee on Wheels, a mobile espresso catering business. I know from experience that inviting him to arrange the coffee at an event really makes it special for the guests.

Photo from Dave van der Aar

In the speech of the Dutch Prime minister that happened last night, an hour before our livestream, the government asked people to remain at home and to stop even small gatherings beyond six people so as not to spread the virus further. This leaves Dave and his business partner to wonder how they are going to sustain their company.

One thing I admire about entrepreneurs, and Dave especially, is that he finds the courage to look positively at the future, even presented with such challenges. He keeps his eyes and mind open for new opportunities. Maybe organizing events on purpose is not encouraged but there are still places where people have to gather. For instance, at a school opening while children are busy, what better way to keep their parents happy if not with a cup of delicious coffee.

In the interview, Dave also shared a few insights about the new format of the events. Now that big gatherings are not happening, the companies need to find a way to promote their products. Why not invite a few influencers to watch the presentation? And in a blink of an eye, the new product becomes known to thousands of their followers. That’s where Coffee on Wheels comes in: aromatic coffee with a smile at any location.

It was great to hear that besides the business, Dave has time and mind space to care about our planet. For a while, he has been learning about minimalism and reducing the footprint of what we do. In our livestream Dave shares that he is a big supporter of healthy eating, not just healthy for the people but also for our nature. For example, in Coffee on Wheels, he is now offering plant-based milk instead of cow milk. Dave mentions a few other things that you can do in your day-to-day life that can help us all restore our planet. We, at the think tank AlterContacts, share this aspiration as all our work is devoted to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the things I strongly believe is that we all can help each other, and especially the small businesses to overcome the pandemic. From this week onwards, to close all our Lockdown Economy interviews, I ask entrepreneurs to share three things they need help with. Perhaps someone who is listening, viewing, or reading this is just the right person to ask.

So here are three things you can help Dave and his business with:

  1. Book Coffee on Wheels for your gathering, if you know you will have one.

2. If you represent a plant-based milk company, reach out to Dave. It might be your way to get closer to the consumers.

3. Spread the word and tell your friends and peers about Coffee on Wheels! Your own personal barista will serve delicious coffee to your guests at any location at any time. Always with a smile!

Watch the interview with Dave from June 2020

About the Author: Julia Skupchenko is a co-founder of Think Tank for Sustainable Development, She is the host and producer of the United Nations registered initiative Lockdown Economy, where entrepreneurs from around the world share the true stories of their business during the pandemic. She was shortlisted for Entrepreneur Award 2020.



Julia Skupchenko

Writer and TED Speaker on Innovative and Sustainable Entrepreneurship | Co-founder of Think Tank AlterContacts & Lockdown Economy |