Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where did our first month go?

Ok, so they say time goes faster as you get older; but that is truly ridiculous.  Mister Close has been open a month - WOW, what a ride.  Driven by adrenaline and perhaps quite a bit of our yum coffee Pete and I have been putting in massive days, 6 day weeks and working a little on the 7th day.  We have just had to.  I don't think we have been naive going into this as we fully expected that we needed to pull to work this hard.  However when your friends and family tell you constantly you look tired you know it is catching up with you.  We have put everything we possibly can into Mister Close and thankfully our customers are really enjoying what we have to offer. 

You live by the sword and you die by the sword!  We have invested a great deal of time to be openly communicative through this blog, facebook, twitter and of course appearing on reviewer sites.  What we are trying to get our head around is the instant slamming or praise you get from social media.  We are desperate to make MC work and we ask for feedback constantly.  What hurts is when people slam you and seem to do it personally.  Anyone who has owned their own business will know how hard it is to get it off the ground and it isn't new news that over a third of businesses fail in the first year.  The difference in 2011 is that when you come home from a 12 hour day, pick up your kids from day care, get back on the tram and then log into a reviewer site to read some pretty harsh comments it would have to be the most horrible feeling in the world.  Personally we hate seeing any business fail, so why would others enjoy slamming small businesses.  No constructive comments or guidance, just personal opinion and attacks on what you build.  We take every comment seriously and meet every time we hear a negative thing said about our food, service or experience.  It is that important that we ensure consistency in everything we do.  We do have to toughen up and perhaps a little bit more sleep and time will build up our resilience to cope with harsh nonconstructive opinion. 

At the same time social media has been really helpful.  We can quickly respond to people's comments, we can communicate instantly with our market and we can stay on track with what they are liking and not liking. 

So July is almost here, new financial year and we are opening Sundays - 7 days a week.   A big step but we have an awesome team in place to handle it.  A month in we have learnt heaps.  We are just so appreciative that our customers like what we are doing and the best s yet to come.  Pete and I just need balance now. 

We contacted our school and Mr Close has contacted us - we look forward to feeding him very soon.

Thanks to all for welcoming us so well - we are humbled, proud and a little tired, - but we really love what we are doing. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting it Right!

So here we are...  day 10!  What a ride and when it all opened the main overriding emotion Pete and I felt (apart from exhaustion) was pride.  um, yep I know exhaustion isn't an emotion  - but it is was the main thing that consumed us last week.  We are blessed with fantastic staff and we are loving our customers.  We love our space and are still working on heating ( we are making head way), gas (who knows what is happening there) and a few small things.  We are sticking to our guns and are going to produce good food from good produce.  No we won't serve 1 litre coffees, doughnuts, fried food, made to order sandwiches or sushi - we leave that to those who do it best.  What we want to keep doing is surprising our customers with food, service, coffee and an environment that makes them feel good. We believe we can do that, we believe that is what people deserve and want.  Why shouldn't every meal be a great meal?

The biggest thing for us now is to listen to our customers, hear their suggestions and try our best to exceed their expectations.  Personally I am loving being back in hospitality.  Sure I miss the stability of working for a company, regular hours and income - but the adrenaline of running your own cafe is all consuming.  To have taken this plunge is such an awesome feeling.  Peter is a true inspiration and I am so very proud of him for taking this plunge with me.  He is a damn good operator and I am in awe of my mate of 28 years. Now it is time for us to "get it right"... to build a reputation, set our standard and keep ensuring we meet or exceed it.  We really believe we can do that - we just now need all our customers to help us achieve it by being honest and letting us please them. 

Mister Close - he feels good, he looks great, he is tasting super and we just love him.  And yes, we contacted our old school today to let him know.

Thank you to all our customers, friends and dear family - we made it.  It is now time for us to get it right.