Design & Innovation

Hospitality comes to the rescue

To fight COVID-19, Australian hospitality businesses have pivoted from their usual operations to produce much-needed hand sanitiser.


Mercedes me Store Melbourne hospitality partner, and Melbourne coffee giant ST. ALi, has moved into hand sanitiser production in a bid to protect its employees’ jobs. Before COVID-19, owner Salvatore Malatesta was exploring ways to expand the store’s offering through its ecommerce platform and was considering a move into personal care items. When the virus reached Australia, ST. ALi had already partnered with industrial chemist HydroChem and had the infrastructure set up to redeploy its 72 staff members.

“I was so proud of my coffee guys for being nimble and willing to go from a roasting factory in Port Melbourne to making, bottling and packing hand sanitiser at a chemical facility in Braeside,” says Malatesta.

The coffee roaster’s hand sanitiser, which bears the message Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Clean, is available to purchase online and at its South Melbourne venue, which has been transformed into a general store that will stay open after the pandemic has passed.

To support organisations struggling through the crisis, ST. ALi will also launch the ST. ALi Hand Sanitiser Project, which will allow people to donate a carton of sanitiser to a business of their choice after making a purchase.

“It’s a foundation we’ve always wanted to start, and it will live on even after the current situation,” says Malatesta. “In its current form, it gives people the opportunity to crowdsource a beneficiary that matters to them, and I think that’s really important.”

You can read more about how other Australian hospitality businesses have been motivated to make a change as well here.

By Nolan James

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