Relative Price to Dish
By having a strong sense of who we are and where we fit into the market, our pricing structure is very competitive. By using online tools to individualise ingredients and price food accordingly, this helps us keep in line with our local competition, city cafes, and make sure we are making a profit. Travelling extensively, with a love of food, coffee and wines is a big bonus to relating quality and pricing structures.
Presentation, innovation & composition
We encourage our Chefs to continually think about presentation, in our food cabinet and on the plate. We are particular, to train staff to use the correct condiment to garnish both the sweet and savoury selections. When travelling, we are continually photographing food. The presentation and selection, is shown to staff on our return.
Originality, Selection and Variety
We are particularly proud of our ‘Seafood Chowder in a Sour Dough Bread Bowl’
I worked closely with our Artisan Baker from Palmerston North to develop a Sour Dough Loaf, that was the right size and composition to be able to be hollowed out, filled with our Seafood Chowder and sit comfortably in a soup Bowl.
We market this extensively, it has become our signature dish, and is the biggest selling item on the Menu. We make sure it is available from 7.30am until 9pm as it has a huge following. We have a computer available at work, for work purpose only, ie looking up recipes. If we have access to bulk seasonal produce, I encourage the Chefs to use these. We subscribe to several food magazines and are always on the look out for new recipes that would suit us.
We are supplied by two artisan bakeries as well as Goodman Fielders Quality Bakers. Our artisan bakeries produce beautiful breads, which we in turn fill with quality ingredients. Our breads include Pide, Ciabatta, Panini, Foccacia, Strombolini, and Turkish. We bake fresh, banana bread, sweet muffins, savoury muffins, ginger gems and a big variety of cakes and slices. Most of the baking is done on the premises, although is topped up from time to time when it is busy. We deal with Lisa from Denheath custard squares and she sends these all the way from Timaru. We use that as a unique selling point and in turn sell a lot of custard squares. We encourage the chefs to create a selection of GF, DF, and vegetarian options, and have all these options available on our Menu.
Accuracy & presentation of Menu and Drinks List
Our Menus presentation has evolved over the years. I love to see the way other people present their menus and take ideas from these. I have colour co-ordinated ours, and have included photos to let people know we have giftware for sale and we have a garden area (not always visible from the street).
We have a Breakfast and Lunch Menu, that works very well alongside our Cabinet food. We have a blackboard menu for coffee, milkshakes smoothies etc.
Non alcoholic beverages are displayed in our food cabinet, and fruit juices are listed on the menu. We have a blackboard, listing all our wines, and this also has a printed version available.
Presentation of staff and premises
A well presented uniform is essential to creating a professional image. We have chosen a uniform that is colour co-ordinated with our premises. All staff are encouraged to wear it well.
Staff are encouraged to develop a Meet & Greet attitude and if busy, know what to say to put the customer waiting, at ease.
I encourage zero clutter. Everything has its place. The ambience is very important, and staff are encouraged to keep counter tops, tables and floors, clutter free. Music is most important and choosing a playlist suitable to the time of the day is encouraged. Toilets are checked regularly for supply and cleanliness. Windows and doors are cleaned continuously throughout the day. Staff are not allowed to sit down in the café, even after finishing work, wearing their uniforms. They must cover them up. The café is for customers. We encourage staff, while working, to keep all personal conversations to an inaudible level to the customers.
As management we attend food shows, subscribe to magazines and generally have an interest in food & beverage. We then in turn try to use this knowledge and encourage our staff to become passionate about products as well. Because almost all cabinet food and cakes are produced on the premises, it is easy for staff to gain a good knowledge of what ingredients are used. We up-skill new workers, to bake, and they gain a good knowledge as to what ingredients are used, and the correct condiment when serving sweet or savoury dishes. As soon as they progress to working the till, they must keep a list of cabinet food at their fingertips with names and prices of individual items.
Cleanliness of premises
We work to a printed cleaning schedule. Daily, weekly, and monthly jobs are ticked and signed off. Chefs are encouraged to take charge of delegating any jobs outside this schedule. As owner/operators, we are inevitably responsible for the cleanliness and management of the business. We work with staff continually, encouraging them to clean. We have a motto – time to lean, time to clean.
Quality of table setting
Our table settings are fairly basic, Salt, Pepper and Sugar. These are continually cleaned and checked. Some of our tables are a rough sawn pine and require a good clean down each day. Cuttlery and crockery is of a high standard and is presented well. Tomato sauce and HP are available at the counter at no extra cost.
Courteous, professional and well groomed staff
We work with staff, especially the shy ones, to make eye contact with the customer and greet them with a smile. If there is a problem, we teach them how to deal with it, or refer it to a senior staff member. A lot of schoolgirls are employed as dishwashers, and then progress to front of staff. It is my job to make sure they are clean & tidy at all times, and if not, deal with it. I have many times taken a clip out of my own hair to give to young girls. In saying this they are all offered a cap to wear.
Tips are collected and deposited regularly at the local gym. All staff have access 7 days a week to a gold card membership. A great incentive, we have found, for seasonal and long term staff.
Living in a climate such as ours, with such inclement weather during winter, makes laundering uniforms a problem for some of the staff. I have to make sure they have at least 3 to 4 uniforms and aprons each, to be able to deal with this, as many flats don’t have driers. I am continually advising staff on wearing appropriate footwear, for comfort and presentation and have sent one staff member home to change her riding boots, complete with manure!
Appropriate & Efficient
I tell all staff, they must treat people they way they would wish to be treated. I do not like loud talking coming from the kitchen and swearing would never be tolerated. We train a lot of our staff, and if I have trained them thoroughly, it is a matter of repetition to get the efficiency and speed while completing a task. After they have been with us for a reasonable amount of time, I encourage warp speed, without forgetting the basics, ie cleaning the table after it has been cleared. All of the staff I have worked with have been encouraged to treat customers with respect, as we always treat our staff with respect, even if we are having a problem that needs addressing.