Local cafe owner can’t handle the heat

creative_canberran 24 November 2011 61

Daryl Hehir-Nielsen, owner of Deakin cafe Double Shot is in the Canberra Times calling for regulation of Canberra’s coffee shops. Apparently, he’s none too happy with every new building having a coffee shop downstairs, nor does he like groups of cyclists turning up without calling first. It’s a curious pair of complaints, he doesn’t want competition but doesn’t like the customers either – perhaps time to consider a new vocation, particularly in light of tepid reviews here and here.

In any case, hospitality has always been competitive, requiring hard work – and competition ultimately benefits the customer. In new Acton, a number of coffee shops within a short distance of one another thrive in new developments, as do coffee shops in new buildings at ANU, the inner south and Woden. One need only look at a certain Braddon coffee shop or the sister stores one Kingston cafe has spawned to see that with the right stuff, you can do well in the marketplace.

Is regulation of coffee shops really needed or is this just a way to prop up businesses that can’t compete on their own merits? And if we take Daryl’s comparison of such regulation to that already in place for supermarkets, has it been for the better, or is it influences like Aldi bringing a new model to market that has changed things more?


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Henry82 Henry82 4:35 pm 24 Nov 11

creative_canberran said :

Just how quickly can he call in the extra staff, …? … just how quickly can he order stock in?

like i said before:

Henry82 said :

As for the “advanced notice”; you could always give him a call and ask.

I’m sure if you were that concerned about it, you’d give him a polite call and ask. Are you even a cyclist? Have you even been to this place? Is there a reason behind the hate? We’ve already found out half the article has been quoted out of context, so i’m going to cut him some slack.

creative_canberran said :

If a cafe is run properly, then they get used to patterns and predict demand, and do their best to cope with surges.

The article was about the difficulties of running a business, hes made an off hand comment about coping with surges. They’ve pulled his comment out of context and made him look like a tool. My old “retail” job had surges (some of which you just cant predict), its difficult, you try your best. That’s all his comment was about.

anyway, what’s so hard about saying “oh hey, we are thinking of making this a regular stop on our Saturday morning ride”? It’s not a contract, it’s just a polite message. I don’t agree with parts of the article, i think hes got buckley’s chance of coffee regulation, but they’ve given him the column inches.

I-filed I-filed 4:34 pm 24 Nov 11

2.0 said :

I-filed said :

Perhaps that particular flock of cyclists behaved rudely, leaving their bicycles in the way … wouldn’t put it past a bunch of cyclists to be obnoxious in any setting!

“grabs popcorn and sits back in his seat”

And yes, I’m one of those drivers who don’t stop for cyclists flouting the law against cycling across pedestrian crossings. I can’t stand cyclists! Hardly any of them obey the road laws – they think they are a law unto themselves. They should be registered, with plates, so they are reportable.

theoutsider theoutsider 4:21 pm 24 Nov 11

Unbelievable.

Stevian Stevian 4:06 pm 24 Nov 11

creative_canberran said :

Henry82 said :

Hes saying he would prefer it if large groups let him know in advance, so he can cater better to their needs. I don’t think its a lot to ask if you want good service. If you don’t call, that fine, but you would need to wait longer.

Just how quickly can he call in the extra staff, and would he really call in and pay extra staff just for a group of cyclists (or anyone) even if they called? As the article says and is well known, hospitality is low margin, high turnover. And if one of his complaints is knowing how much stock to have, just how quickly can he order stock in?

How many people honestly plan their next cup of coffee hours ahead of time, much less a day ahead?
You do for a dinner out, but coffee and a snack? Let’s say a group is cycling around the lake and called earlier for 11am. They see something interesting along the way and take a detour, or they ride slower because it’s a particularly hot day. Does he expect them to call again and say they’ll be there at 12 instead? Does he get angry because people turn up late or not at all after calling and he has put extra staff on when they weren’t needed? What if they ride fast and turn up early, does he make them wait until 11?

If a cafe is run properly, then they get used to patterns and predict demand, and do their best to cope with surges. Judging by the reviews of his cafe, he’s penny pinching on staff constantly and wants government to step in to make sure people go to his business rather than competitors, which is a joke when I can go to Lonsdale or Kingston on a Saturday morning and see cafes buzzing with heaps of staff on.

I get it, Basil Fawlty.
Without all these customers we’d be able to run this business properly.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 4:03 pm 24 Nov 11

Henry82 said :

Hes saying he would prefer it if large groups let him know in advance, so he can cater better to their needs. I don’t think its a lot to ask if you want good service. If you don’t call, that fine, but you would need to wait longer.

Just how quickly can he call in the extra staff, and would he really call in and pay extra staff just for a group of cyclists (or anyone) even if they called? As the article says and is well known, hospitality is low margin, high turnover. And if one of his complaints is knowing how much stock to have, just how quickly can he order stock in?

How many people honestly plan their next cup of coffee hours ahead of time, much less a day ahead?
You do for a dinner out, but coffee and a snack? Let’s say a group is cycling around the lake and called earlier for 11am. They see something interesting along the way and take a detour, or they ride slower because it’s a particularly hot day. Does he expect them to call again and say they’ll be there at 12 instead? Does he get angry because people turn up late or not at all after calling and he has put extra staff on when they weren’t needed? What if they ride fast and turn up early, does he make them wait until 11?

If a cafe is run properly, then they get used to patterns and predict demand, and do their best to cope with surges. Judging by the reviews of his cafe, he’s penny pinching on staff constantly and wants government to step in to make sure people go to his business rather than competitors, which is a joke when I can go to Lonsdale or Kingston on a Saturday morning and see cafes buzzing with heaps of staff on.

Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 3:36 pm 24 Nov 11

Regulation = communism.

DUG DUG 3:06 pm 24 Nov 11

Hey Daryl, what has happened? didn’t Terry Snow and suits from the House used to go out of their way to get a cup from you? I never minded travelling or paying a little more for a good cup.
What happened to Al the barista?

Henry82 Henry82 2:53 pm 24 Nov 11

creative_canberran said :

I mean what he’s really saying is he expects groups to call ahead for coffee, assumedly so he can get extra staff on. So how much notice does he want?

Hes saying he would prefer it if large groups let him know in advance, so he can cater better to their needs. I don’t think its a lot to ask if you want good service. If you don’t call, that fine, but you would need to wait longer.

Last year, I ordered 60+ pizzas from dominos, i called a few days ahead and spoke to the manager. He was *really* pleased i called, otherwise 60 pizza requests spew out of the machine 20 minutes before the pizza is due.

As for the “advanced notice”; you could always give him a call and ask. I think we’ve all been pretty quick to sharpen the pitchforks.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 2:33 pm 24 Nov 11

Part of Daryl’s amending comment from CT:

“I was commenting on staffing and stock levels being hard to predict, due to the random nature of this type of business. that statement finished with “and of course I am, however sometimes it can be quite a challenge.”

Which means his full comment according to him was:

“A cycling group will arrive with 20 people. They don’t bother letting you know, they think they’ll turn up and you will be happy for the business, and of course I am, however sometimes it can be quite a challenge.”

Nope, I’m still getting winger even with his amendment.

I mean what he’s really saying is he expects groups to call ahead for coffee, assumedly so he can get extra staff on. So how much notice does he want? Does he really want cyclists (or any group) to call the day before, or hours in advance to give enough time for some poor casual to be called in out of the blue just to serve one group?

And that still doesn’t negate his comment about the need to regulate new coffee shops, essentially meaning he wants any competition to his business artificially removed.

Al Yeganeh anyone?

fromthecapital fromthecapital 2:02 pm 24 Nov 11

I-filed said :

Perhaps that particular flock of cyclists behaved rudely, leaving their bicycles in the way … wouldn’t put it past a bunch of cyclists to be obnoxious in any setting!

You need someone to bag now that being racist isn’t cool anymore…

poetix poetix 2:00 pm 24 Nov 11

The $42 a week on coffee per household in Canberra cited in the article is interesting. I drink more than that myself, but it’s a lot of money even at that level isn’t it? More evidence for the people who say we’re all spoilt. I think that my household would quite often spend $100 per week, which is $400 per month, or $4800 a year! That’s two tickets to Europe. Or probably more than all our utilities bills.

I wonder how many people spending this much, which is not hideously unusual, I would think, (a) whinge about their finances and/or (b) can’t possibly afford to sponsor a kid overseas (that costs about as much per month as the average weekly ACT coffee spend).

I’ll have another coffee and think about it.

Funky1 Funky1 1:40 pm 24 Nov 11

The cyclists were probably in a hurry because they were on part of a time trial that required them to speed along shared cycle/pedestrian paths and broadcast their dominance amongst all this around them.

madamcholet madamcholet 1:34 pm 24 Nov 11

+1 Harvest – best coffee I have ever had – and I only drink it during the week. I’m a tea person otherwise.

2.0 2.0 1:27 pm 24 Nov 11

I-filed said :

Perhaps that particular flock of cyclists behaved rudely, leaving their bicycles in the way … wouldn’t put it past a bunch of cyclists to be obnoxious in any setting!

“grabs popcorn and sits back in his seat”

I-filed I-filed 1:07 pm 24 Nov 11

Perhaps that particular flock of cyclists behaved rudely, leaving their bicycles in the way … wouldn’t put it past a bunch of cyclists to be obnoxious in any setting!

Erg0 Erg0 12:20 pm 24 Nov 11

tidalik said :

If you read through the comments on the article you’ll see that Daryl clarified the cyclist remark.

I see it now, and that pretty much confirms my suspicion of what he actually meant. Nice one, CT.

Henry82 Henry82 12:18 pm 24 Nov 11

bitzermaloney said :

He has a valid point, in that it seems every new development has a “cafe”. That said, there are very few places that serve a decent coffee at a reasonable price.

I don’t really see the issue here, or why it needs regulation. Competition is good, and if they’re crap cafes – then customers will be drawn to the good ones.

As for the cyclists comment, hes probably going to be annoyed if they did tell him they were coming, and then they were delayed. The cyclists just have to be aware they are a big group, and things take time. The owner has to learn not to get so upset.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 12:05 pm 24 Nov 11

puggy said :

Brandi said :

…Roasters…all great and all welcome cyclists.

Well they seem to welcome anyone willing to put up with sitting on bare upturned milk crates to drink average coffee made and served by indifferent hipster student trash. The fit out in the place is great (but dime a dozen anywhere but Canberra) but the coffee isn’t what it’s cracked up to me and the service doesn’t come with a smile.

I agree with your assessment of their coffee and service. I prefer to call the place “Lonsdale Street Hipsters”, or “Hipster Street Roasters”. I also quietly laugh at the people paying money to sit on upturned milk crates like hobos.

puggy puggy 11:54 am 24 Nov 11

Brandi said :

…Roasters…all great and all welcome cyclists.

Well they seem to welcome anyone willing to put up with sitting on bare upturned milk crates to drink average coffee made and served by indifferent hipster student trash. The fit out in the place is great (but dime a dozen anywhere but Canberra) but the coffee isn’t what it’s cracked up to me and the service doesn’t come with a smile.

Brandi Brandi 11:30 am 24 Nov 11

Tonic, Roasters, Harvest, 2 Before 10 … all great and all welcome cyclists. I suspect these cafes are so confident in their abilities that they’d even welcome Rat Patrol. Bring on the competition and let the chips fall where they may.

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