Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Broader View

Over the past year I've started a new cafe business called Habitat Cafe, in Aberfeldy, Scotland. It was created from nothing. The premises were derelict, unused for 4 years with a leaking roof and unidentified brown things growing here and there.
Now it is a beautiful space with oak flooring, tranquil colours, and farmhouse tables made with reclaimed wood.
We recruited baristas with no previous experience, since there were none in this part of the world. In the absence of a chef, we installed a lady with previous cooking experience but limited repertoire and little confidence. Most of our waiting staff were still at school (and still are!).
Now they are a massively strong team, with great skills and a pride in doing a good job. 
In the beginning we had no idea whether the business would work.
Now we are about to be awarded a top prize in a prestige national awards ceremony in recognition of our devotion to beverage standards. 

It has been a hard year, filled with doubt and fear. The hours have been long, and the financial rewards have so far been elusive.  The nature of the challenges I personally have faced has been, and continues to be manifold and varied.

Starting and running a business is the biggest learning experience of my life.

So I've realised that I need a place to reflect upon this learning. To bounce around my own managerial quandries.  To record thoughts regarding customer interactions, successful or otherwise. And of course, to continue discussing coffee, along with other areas of drinks, food, service and people.

Rather than start a new blog, I will expand the scope of this one so it is less of a pure "coffee lab" and more of a "cafe business lab".

My writing, as it always has been, is primarily for my own benefit. Writing aids my learning. It is also cathartic, I find... better out than in.

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