Building Community Through A Pandemic


At the start of 2019 JOLA Cafe was a growing coffee boutique that encapsulated the very essence of what makes Portland, Oregon so attractive to the nearly 8.8 milling visitors this city receives every year. With its offerings of 3rd wave craft coffee, fusion inspired cafe classics, and millennial approved weekend brunch specials, JOLA quickly became a favorite destination to it's SW Portland neighbors and visitors.

By early 2020 however, JOLA, like so many restaurants across the nation, experienced a striking halt in business when Covid-19 arrived. For a time, Covid-19 had forced the sweetheart cafe to shut its doors without a time table for return.

As the weeks turned to months many of the city's bedrock establishments were left with no other choice but to permanently lock the doors and retire their operations.  However, despite the city's sweeping closures, the entire JOLA team, from owner to busser, held resolute in creating a world in which this John's Landing favorite could continue service in a Covid-safe environment.


However, not every restaurant that was met with the new challenges brought on by Covid-19 were able to carve out solutions. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, JOLA's long time retail neighbor, known for it's eclectic design and specialty in fried fish and seafood, had succumbed to the financial impact of the pandemic, and was forced to close its doors forever. But as Alexander Graham Bell famously wrote, “When one door closes, another opens…” and for JOLA, it seemed that their neighbor held the key to a very unique opportunity in a very unique time.

When so many were opting to downsize, the JOLA leadership team gathered to look at the real possibility of expanding their operations to cover the entire ground floor of the historic Corbette Building.  

By May of 2020, JOLA decided to take the leap on an expansion idea for their storefront which allowed them create an entirely new atmosphere of service including a new dinner menu, expand hours, and with nearly double the floor space, JOLA was in a prime position to reopen their doors for guest seating.   

By removing more than half their indoor seating, creating new outdoor seating, mandating the use of masks and social distancing practices on property grounds per the Oregon state guidelines, and investing in new technologies to ensure guest safety, JOLA managed to create an environment that offered what so many have craved since the pandemic began: a community.

Within 90 days of acquiring space, JOLA Cafe had grown into JOLA, a full service restaurant open from 7 A.M. to 9 P.M.   

How JOLA and GROWTH|MEDIA Teamed Up To Create A Safer Experience For Guests

 The Covid-19 Pandemic created a lot of new hurdles for the world to navigate over such, as social distancing in public spaces, vigilant sanitation procedures, and religious use of masks and other facial shields. 

When JOLA reached out for additional ideas for how they could improve operations during Covid-19, it quickly rang true that the safety and security of their guests was an unwavering #1 priority, followed by a desire to maintain a high level of product quality and guest service.


Enter the Contactless Smart Tag.

n a concerted effort to further reduce the risk to guests, JOLA wanted to find ways to minimize unnecessary points of contact between the staff and the guests. Recognizing that the two most common interactions these two groups have that may cause transmission were menu handling and ordering.


By creating Contactless Ordering Smart Tags, we were able to eliminate both the need for JOLA to physically hand menus to guests when they arrive by allowing guests to use their smart phones to directly gain access to a digital menu. With Contactless Ordering Smart Tags, guests simply hold their smartphone's above the tile and the technology automatically kicks in without having to download an app, opt-in to a program, or worse, scan a code.

As the name implies, guests can also order directly from their phones. With access to the entire menu, guests can order any and all of their favorite items, write notes, and pay for their orders seamlessly, and without ever having a face to face conversation unnecessarily.  

A simple and elegant solution for reducing guest risk while maintaining JOLA's ability to effectively create and deliver food and drinks to the standard that they are best known for. 

Unlock your phone

Hold Over Smart Tag

Ready To Order

Enhancing Partnership Benefits With JOLA's Rotating Artists

In a collaborative effort with local artists, JOLA actively looks to partner with various artists to have them display and sell their works directly from the walls. To help foster and facilitate interactions between guests and artists, we created specialized Contactless Smart Tags throughout the entire space that link directly to the artist's existing gallery and online store. In this way, artists are uniquely positioned to reach and connect to their viewers on multiple levels beyond the art itself.

For JOLA, the opportunity for their guests to engage with local artists directly adds yet another pillar in their effort to create a close knit community. 

Bringing Contactless Smart Tags To Your Business

If you have a cafe or a restaurant and you are interested in learning more about how Contactless Smart Tags can enhance your spaces, visit our Contactless Smart Tags webpage or inquire with us at


Visit them at:
5915 S Corbett Ave
Portland, OR 97239


Instagram: @jolacafe