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The Brunch Run – The Cupping Room (Civic)

By Alexandra Craig 16 April 2016 25

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The Cupping Room in Civic is probably one of Canberra’s most popular cafes. Whenever I drive past, tables are always full and sometimes there’s even a line out the door. I had family in town last weekend and decided to take them here for breakfast.

We arrived quite early, about 7.50am. I thought the cafe had opened at 7.30am and given the doors were wide open we started to approach. We were met by an employee who told us the cafe doesn’t open for another 10 minutes and proceeded to close the double doors in our faces. Unnecessary, I thought. We weren’t going to storm the place, there was no need for protective measures against four breakfast-goers. No dramas though, we decided we’d go for a stroll around the block to pass time. As we looped back around it was about 7.58am (literally two minutes to opening time) when we saw two ladies approach the cafe, open the door and walk in. About 15 seconds later they were escorted out and the doors were LOCKED behind them. Locked! Really?! The cafe opens in 2 minutes. I used to work in retail so I know how annoying it is when people would want to come in early, or come in late, but seriously, two minutes to opening is a ridiculous amount of time to be kicking people out and locking the door to only have to unlock it pretty well straight away.

Anyway, we tried to see the funny side in it and we all had a giggle amongst ourselves. The doors opened again and I was so excited because I know what an awesome breakfast The Cupping Room does. We were first through the door and selected a corner table because it was a chilly morning and this table had amazing sunlight. It was two single tables very close to each other so we pulled them 20cm closer and started pondering the menus. The same employee who had closed the doors in our faces came over and told us we had to move because the tables were for two groups of two and not one group of four. We were extremely puzzled by this request because well, we were there first and the restaurant wasn’t even half full yet. We said we would prefer to stay seated where we were and copped a bit of attitude from the employee. We ended up being able to stay there but it really did make us feel extremely unwelcome and had my guests not had a flight to catch, I would have hauled us out of there and gone to another cafe. I thought maybe we were the ones being unreasonable but we even had two separate groups of diners lean over to us and say they thought his behaviour was completely unacceptable.

Pushing on for breakfast though, my partner and I ordered the smashed avo which came with goats cheese, poached eggs, and pomegranate, one guest ordered the huevos bollo which was kind of like a fancy bacon and egg roll, and my second guest ordered the French toast with citrus textures, chocolate sauce and whipped marscapone. The meals came out quickly and beautifully presented. I was immediately overcome with food envy looking at the french toast – it looked amazing! Such a pretty dish, almost too good to eat.

I wasn’t a fan of the pomegranate on my dish. I think it was just too sweet for me paired with the savoury eggs and salty goats cheese. My partner liked it though – he hoovered down his meal in what seemed like about 30 seconds. There was a really generous serving of avo which is always nice, some cafes are a bit stingy given how expensive avocados are but my serving was so big I thought they must have an avocado tree out the back! My first guest really enjoyed the huevos bollo – it was packed with ingredients and the eggs had the perfect runniness. The French toast was a dream too. I was lucky enough to sample a tiny bit of it and it tasted like cinnamon donuts which might seem like an unusual choice for breakfast but hey, a treat is good every now and again right?

As we left, two of the people in my group said to the employee that we honestly weren’t happy with the entire experience. He apologised but it was more of a ‘sorry you got upset’ rather than ‘sorry I acted inappropriately’. Kind of a ‘sorry not sorry’ moment I suppose.

Our meals were great, they really were. Service was prompt and the food was fantastic. However, the customer service and the way we and the other set of diners were treated was atrocious. I understand that working in the hospitality and service industries can be stressful, however it’s unnecessary to behave the way that employee behaved. As amazing as the food is, I’m not going back. I don’t want to be treated like that again.

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
The Brunch Run – The Cupping Room (Civic)
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Holden Caulfield 4:49 pm 22 Apr 16

Nice to see a couple of Cupping Room staff pop in to RA for what will no doubt be a fleeting visit, haha!

Seriously, some people need to lighten up, moving two adjacent tables together is not going to stuff up an electronic ordering/payment system. If the system really is that inflexible (computer says, no!) then any staff member with a modicum of intelligence should be able to work out that the two tables who must never be moved were paying together. And it would take all of 10 seconds to rearrange the tables after the paying guests have left.

Of course, there are some members of the public who treat hospitality staff like crap and asking someone to think about the staff may be pertinent at times, but I’m not sure that was necessary in this case.

Moreover, if you’re in hospitality and can’t recognise that you’re in a service industry and that your job is to actually serve the customer, then, really, find work in another industry.

Nobody likes getting bad service or being treated like a child, so taking the OP’s review at face value I think those defending the Cupping Room need to at least consider that the behaviour displayed was unacceptable instead of coming back with feeble explanations.

madelini 2:04 pm 22 Apr 16

Mordd said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Mordd said :

MonarchRepublic said :

rommeldog56 said :

You wouldn’t rearrange the tables at someone else’s house without asking them. Same applies in a cafe or restaurant.

Actually, no it doesn’t. People don’t generally pay to spend time in each other’s houses. If I was forking over money to spend time in someone’s house I’d expect to have a bit of leeway in y’know, choosing where to sit.

I don’t think throwing $20 on a meal entitles you to shuffle furniture around to suit your needs without asking. It’s still not your space – there’s no need to be rude because you have paid for your breakfast.

If you took a dish to a pot luck dinner, would you rearrange their lounge room as well? After all, you paid for what you contributed!

Hang on, going to a cafe is a commercial transaction. I expect professionalism. It is different to going to a friend’s house.

Professionalism in terms of service and quality of product. It doesn’t mean that you are entitled to rearrange the furniture – that’s straight up poor manners.

Do you rearrange the chairs in the waiting room at the dentist? That’s a commercial transaction. Do you rearrange the display furniture in IKEA or Domayne? That’s also a commercial transaction. And if you don’t, why not? They’re laid out specifically in those stores or service providers for a reason, same as cafes. If there is a table of four and two tables of two, it is better manners to sit at the table prepared for your number, instead of taking it upon yourself – without asking – to shuffle stuff around because you paid for a $15 huevos bollos and a coffee.

Not a right to shift the furniture yourself, but as a paying customer, you have the right to make a reasonable request with regard to seating, and where practicable, a reasonable expectation to have that request accommodated.

Absolutely – if you make a polite request to the staff, you would hope for an accommodating and reasonable response. However, in the article above, no request was made, and the customer took it upon themselves to rearrange the furniture because they felt like it. I’m not surprised that the staff were less than ecstatic to have to deal with that. Again, purchasing a meal does not mean that you are entitled to move things around because you feel like it – at best, that’s downright rude, at worst, selfish and disrespectful. Manners don’t cost a thing.

mmmich 7:44 am 22 Apr 16

Agreed that they went about it the wrong way, but I think it’s understandable that a cafe doesn’t want their tables rearranged right at opening time. If the two person tables are removed and the rest fill up then they might have to seat a couple at a 4 person table and then lose out on a larger group. It’s certainly fine to ask but I think it’s reasonable that it’s refused, particularly when there are free tables of the correct size.

Nilrem 5:14 pm 21 Apr 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Mordd said :

MonarchRepublic said :

rommeldog56 said :

You wouldn’t rearrange the tables at someone else’s house without asking them. Same applies in a cafe or restaurant.

Actually, no it doesn’t. People don’t generally pay to spend time in each other’s houses. If I was forking over money to spend time in someone’s house I’d expect to have a bit of leeway in y’know, choosing where to sit.

I don’t think throwing $20 on a meal entitles you to shuffle furniture around to suit your needs without asking. It’s still not your space – there’s no need to be rude because you have paid for your breakfast.

If you took a dish to a pot luck dinner, would you rearrange their lounge room as well? After all, you paid for what you contributed!

Hang on, going to a cafe is a commercial transaction. I expect professionalism. It is different to going to a friend’s house.

Professionalism in terms of service and quality of product. It doesn’t mean that you are entitled to rearrange the furniture – that’s straight up poor manners.

Do you rearrange the chairs in the waiting room at the dentist? That’s a commercial transaction. Do you rearrange the display furniture in IKEA or Domayne? That’s also a commercial transaction. And if you don’t, why not? They’re laid out specifically in those stores or service providers for a reason, same as cafes. If there is a table of four and two tables of two, it is better manners to sit at the table prepared for your number, instead of taking it upon yourself – without asking – to shuffle stuff around because you paid for a $15 huevos bollos and a coffee.

Not a right to shift the furniture yourself, but as a paying cuistomer, you have the right to make a reasonable request with regard to seating, and where practicable, a reasonable expectation to have that request accommodated.

Mysteryman 12:08 pm 21 Apr 16

gooterz said :

I’ve re-arranged many a table layout at cafes and pubs and nightclubs over the years, to make room for a larger group around smaller tables – never once have I been told off for this and if I had I would not go back to the venue. This is perfectly normal behaviour and for the cafe staff to get all uppity about it is ridiculous. I worked in hospitality for many years and never had an issue with this being done where I was working. All those complaining about moving the furniture need to realise this really isn’t that big an issue.

Likewise, those complaining about being asked *not* to move the furniture should also realise it really isn’t that big an issue.

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