Monday, June 29, 2009

onwards and upwards

so our last 'official' day as a cafe was fairly nondescript. trade was exceptionally slow, which underscored that we need to make a transition. the next two weeks should see things taking shape.

I'll miss cooking dishes like this - thai beef, kumera and green bean curry:

but maybe I'll get back to creative dinners again.

haven't decided if I'll continue posting to this blog, as we're totally shifting the business model away from food. at any rate I'll leave it up, perhaps as inspiration (or even a cautionary tale) for anyone with a dream of having their own fooderie. as this blog will confirm, it ain't easy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

finale d'cafe

today's our last day trading as a "cafe". we've decided to take the rebranding approach, so we'll close for a couple of weeks of minor renovations and restock and reopen as a gourmet coffee/tearoom and roasting house.

we've put out feelers for second-hand books or antiques to fill some of the dining room that will no longer be required by us. so far, the response has been very good.

so we'll flip the closed sign about 4 or 5, have a few drinks across the road at the pub, and reemerge with what will hopefully be a more sustainable business model.

and a much less stress-filled one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

more course corrections

we're considering a fairly major change. the primary thrust of our business is coffee, but we've delved into the food end as we have a kitchen & the place has been known mainly as a cafe/restaurant.

as most in the biz know, however, the profit margins on food alone are very slim. we've done another hard look thru the books, and our coffee = food ratio is pretty good. so if we cut out the food menu all but entirely, our overall income would reduce but the margins would be greater. which might well work better for us.

another consideration is, we've been trying to develop a market west of the mountains to wholesale coffee to. but we're finding that there's a perception that as a 'cafe', they'd be buying from a competing business. so changing to a roasting house should alleviate that.

so at this point, we're exploring how best to turn the place into a gourmet coffee and tearoom, with cakes and a limited amount of snacks and pastries.

which means, we might just be able to survive a little longer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

random notes from mid-june

biz as usual. well, as 'usual' as we've come to expect. which is good for the sanity and stress levels, bad for the bank balance. and we don't expect much to change between now and end of july, when yulefest is in full swing.

can't believe all the hoo-hah that the gordon ramsay - tracy grimshaw feud kicked up. glad sarah palin wasn't in the country to add to the stupidity.

soups and stews are all the rage as winter's set in. wind chill dropped the temp down to -8c / 17f last week, and we've redesigned the dining room to take full advantage of the fireplace. the leather sofa, with coffee table directly in front of the fire is now the most-requested table.

the stripped-back menu is working much better, as far as the kitchen & aging equipment goes. but there were a few on the weekend who seemed a little disappointed with the menu.

mind you, you can never be everything to everybody. well, unless you buy-in everything and microwave portions, which we simply won't do. we've taken the tack that this place is what it is, and we'll make the most of what we can offer accordingly. at least it's fresh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

the g word

gordon ramsay's back in the country for the good food & wine show, and once again he's managed to rattle the ever-precious cages of aussie media.

you'd think by now, everyone would be hip to gord and his style. as bad as channel nine has been struggling for ratings, one would almost think the whole thing was a setup, anyway.

compare gord's histronics to, say, billy connolly. they're both mad scotsmen, intelligent and articulate. if billy unleashed on a tv presenter or journalist, everyone would think it hilarious. when gordon does it, he's in the bad books.

why? because one is an 'entertainer' and the other a 'chef'? I'd argue that gr's become more of a media personality than a pan rattler these days.

note to the aussie media pack: if you don't like what gordon's saying, stop asking for interview time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

great rain weekend

well, the big event came and went. only problem was, they couldn't get any antique trains to come up. some hiccup at the last minute meant the great train weekend became a clayton's train weekend.

we had quite a few in on saturday, familes seeking refuge from the cold.

then the rains set in around midafternoon and chased everyone away. sunday, the village looked like a ghost town as the rain and lack of trains kept the tourists away.

so we think we can expect a fairly steady but overall unremarkable trade for the next several weeks, at least until yulefest. then we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

steady on

gearing up for the coming weekend, an annual event here called the great train weekend. we're told that plenty of folks are in the village for it, anywhere from a hundred or two (local shops) or thousands (event organisers), depending of course on who you speak to. but we're expecting something along the lines of what we experienced over easter.

so we'll be staffed up, stocked up, and hopefully all the equipment will work. we've now moved to the new menu too. I'm sure our regulars will be sad to see the burgers go, but as stated in the last post, it's all about keeping the doors open.