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Palmerston North cafe using toy train for contactless service amid Covid-19 restrictions

A Palmerston North coffee shop has found a unique way to serve coffee to its customers while sticking to the strict no contact rules of Alert Level 3.

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Cyclista owner Steve Stannard says putting a smile on the faces of customers is all part of the experience. Source: Supplied

Cyclista Espresso Bar and Roastery in the city's CBD has engineered a remote-control train delivery system. 

Cutting cup holders out of polystyrene, the coffee is placed securely in the train's carriage before reversing backwards over the long table in the front door to waiting customers. 

Cyclista owner Steve Stannard says he came across the train set, which had been "sitting on shelf for 20 years", while tidying around the home under Level 4 lockdown. 

Like many other business owners, he says, his mind was occupied during the lockdown with how he would be able to operate again when allowed to do so. 

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While many restaurants and cafes aren't able to operate as they normally would, Mr Stannard says it isn't stopping him from giving his customers the cafe experience. 

"It's all about when people usually come in to get a coffee, they smile. It's part of the cafe experience." 

Returning to work in a "scaled down" environment has gone smoothly so far, he says, with no train derailments yet. 

"It's going pretty good, better than expected."

For other businesses looking at how they can get back up and running under Level 3, it's all about getting creative and "seeing how it goes".