Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

We mean business
Contact us today to get results

The Brunch Run – The Cupping Room (Civic)

By Alexandra Craig - 16 April 2016 25

IMG_9038

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?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
25 Responses to
The Brunch Run – The Cupping Room (Civic)
madelini 12:38 pm 20 Apr 16

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!

Evilomlap 2:52 pm 19 Apr 16

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.

Evilomlap 1:50 pm 19 Apr 16

dungfungus said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

rommeldog56 said :

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

The Cupping Room runs a booking & waiting list sheet at the front door, against what tables they have and how many they seat. Stuffing their system at the start of service puts them in a bad place as soon as they fill. Try and see it from their perspective. It’s a good place, but has to run a bit rigid because of the sheer demand.

I think your first statement is a very good way of looking at it. As a customer, I wouldn’t help myself to rearrange the furniture in a cafe or restaurant without asking the wait staff first. Especially if there are other tables of 4 available.

We didn’t realise it was two two-seater tables. When we sat down, there was a 20cm gap (if that) between the two tables – this is fairly close and we didn’t assume two separate groups would sit this closely together.

The tables so close together is one of the many reasons I don’t go to the Cupping Room. Elk and Pea do it as well – you’re seated so close to others you might as well just join in the conversation. As a person who values personal space I won’t go to places that do this – it’s about cramming as many people as possible into the available square footage. Businesses need to make a profit but basically sitting on the next tables’ laps ain’t for me.

I’m totally with you on the politeness thing, though. There is no excuse for being rude to customers. I managed to leave my personal stuff at the door and put a smile on my face when I worked in retail and hospitality. If I can do it, anyone can, believe me!

nsee 12:39 pm 19 Apr 16

The doors would have been wide open because they need to put their big tables out before they open.

Customers at places like the Cupping Room need to put themselves in the staff’s shoes once in a while. They get hammered all day, your $20 breakfast or $4 coffee does not entitle you to having them bend to your every whim. Sometimes places have to focus on efficiency rather than spending their day trying not to offend customers that go out of their way to find things to be offended about.

Nilrem 9:09 am 19 Apr 16

They do have excellent coffee there. I’m not a coffee tosser, so often I can’t distinguish between coffees, but the one I had there was really nice. It’s a shame that attitude seems to follow hard on the heels of reputation. Oh well, I guess this stuff is self correcting, as bad attitude will repel people, no matter how good the coffee is.

Alexandra Craig 8:11 am 19 Apr 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

rommeldog56 said :

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

The Cupping Room runs a booking & waiting list sheet at the front door, against what tables they have and how many they seat. Stuffing their system at the start of service puts them in a bad place as soon as they fill. Try and see it from their perspective. It’s a good place, but has to run a bit rigid because of the sheer demand.

I think your first statement is a very good way of looking at it. As a customer, I wouldn’t help myself to rearrange the furniture in a cafe or restaurant without asking the wait staff first. Especially if there are other tables of 4 available.

We didn’t realise it was two two-seater tables. When we sat down, there was a 20cm gap (if that) between the two tables – this is fairly close and we didn’t assume two separate groups would sit this closely together.

madelini 4:00 pm 18 Apr 16

Mordd said :

Mordd said :

That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that the staff were miffed that you moved the tables – given that they use an electronic ordering system (and often have a line out the door), having people come in and rearrange without asking could prove to be a problem later in the day. As far as The Cupping Room goes, they work as a well-oiled machine, so while it’s annoying for you as the customer, it’s risk management for the staff who have to be there all day.

I wasn’t aware of the electronic ordering/table system, and honestly, if we had been asked nicely and had the reasons properly explained to us, it would have been a whole different story. But the guy was super rude to us from the moment we arrived and offered no proper explanation as to why we couldn’t sit there. At the end of the day, it’s about the way people say things that makes the difference.

They don’t need to tell you – when you go to pay, they find your table on the electronic screen that is designed according to the layout. It’s how they manage the wait list as well, and really, you’re not entitled to that explanation as the staff would reasonably assume that if there are tables of four, a group of four adults would choose them over two two-seater tables. So, while they could have asked you nicely, could you not have also asked them nicely to rearrange their furniture?

Mysteryman 3:33 pm 18 Apr 16

rommeldog56 said :

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

The Cupping Room runs a booking & waiting list sheet at the front door, against what tables they have and how many they seat. Stuffing their system at the start of service puts them in a bad place as soon as they fill. Try and see it from their perspective. It’s a good place, but has to run a bit rigid because of the sheer demand.

I think your first statement is a very good way of looking at it. As a customer, I wouldn’t help myself to rearrange the furniture in a cafe or restaurant without asking the wait staff first. Especially if there are other tables of 4 available.

I’ve been eating at the Cupping Room since it opened. I’ve never had a problem with the staff. They have always been polite, courteous, and helpful, even when running at maximum capacity (which is basically every time I go there!).

FrankReynolds 1:37 pm 18 Apr 16

Shame to hear about this poor experience.
I’ve been there frequently and only had positive experiences. The friendly staff are one of the big draws for me.
Not an excuse, but I might chalk that up to that person having a bad day (I know working retail/hospo I’ve been guilty of the same).
Also, I’ll put in an upvote for the pomegranate on the smashed avo. Not for everyone, but I really enjoy it.

Alexandra Craig 1:31 pm 18 Apr 16

rosscoact said :

You sound upset that you couldn’t get what you wanted and things weren’t done exactly you wanted them.

I’ve been there at 7:45 before and people were just streaming in and picking their own tables and it was bedlam. As soon at 8 hit they all expected to have their orders taken at the same time and I could see people getting upset because they thought they’d come in before someone else and should get their order taken first.
What’s wrong with the staff wanting to be properly organised before opening at the (advertised) time of 8? Closing the doors prevents them from constantly telling keen beans that they’re not open yet.

I think it’s fair that you were told that you can’t just drag tables together just because you feel like it, or you thought it was fine because you were the first person there. There’s plenty of tables in that place for groups of 4. Maybe respect the staff who – again – were trying to get ready and be organised for what would surely be a busy day. Sometimes that place is full by 8:05, with a line and waiting list by 8:15. If you spent say 30 minutes there, that’s a whole table of trade wasted. I know for a fact that there are two tables of four that get great sunlight in that area. You just wanted to sit in the booths.

I have no problem with the doors being closed before opening. However, when we arrived, 10 minutes before opening, the doors were wide open. I mistakenly thought they had opened earlier than our arrival time, and I had no problem waiting a little longer – but it is rude to close the doors in people’s faces when they were previously wide open. Had they been shut when I arrived, I would have seen the opening time printed on the door and I wouldn’t have walked in.

As for the tables – I know the tables you’re talking about because when we were asked to move, I looked over to see what other options were available. They didn’t have any sunlight on them whatsoever. Maybe a little later in the day but on our particular morning they didn’t have sunlight. I would have moved otherwise. Not fussy about booths. Any indoor seat in the sun would have been fine but there was only the spot we were in, or the other booth spot.

Mordd said :

That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that the staff were miffed that you moved the tables – given that they use an electronic ordering system (and often have a line out the door), having people come in and rearrange without asking could prove to be a problem later in the day. As far as The Cupping Room goes, they work as a well-oiled machine, so while it’s annoying for you as the customer, it’s risk management for the staff who have to be there all day.

I wasn’t aware of the electronic ordering/table system, and honestly, if we had been asked nicely and had the reasons properly explained to us, it would have been a whole different story. But the guy was super rude to us from the moment we arrived and offered no proper explanation as to why we couldn’t sit there. At the end of the day, it’s about the way people say things that makes the difference.

madelini 12:02 pm 18 Apr 16

The Cupping Room is definitely a stand out in Canberra – their coffee is to die for, and they often have excellent cronuts in the takeaway window.

That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that the staff were miffed that you moved the tables – given that they use an electronic ordering system (and often have a line out the door), having people come in and rearrange without asking could prove to be a problem later in the day. As far as The Cupping Room goes, they work as a well-oiled machine, so while it’s annoying for you as the customer, it’s risk management for the staff who have to be there all day.

It’s also an WHS issue to have customers inside a workplace before opening – not worth the small chance that something could go awry, and the staff/owners could be held accountable, especially if they were still unpacking furniture or were yet to clear away any hazards. Two minutes is enough time for something to go wrong.

pajs 11:27 am 18 Apr 16

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

The Cupping Room runs a booking & waiting list sheet at the front door, against what tables they have and how many they seat. Stuffing their system at the start of service puts them in a bad place as soon as they fill. Try and see it from their perspective. It’s a good place, but has to run a bit rigid because of the sheer demand.

nsee 9:11 am 18 Apr 16

You sound upset that you couldn’t get what you wanted and things weren’t done exactly you wanted them.

I’ve been there at 7:45 before and people were just streaming in and picking their own tables and it was bedlam. As soon at 8 hit they all expected to have their orders taken at the same time and I could see people getting upset because they thought they’d come in before someone else and should get their order taken first.
What’s wrong with the staff wanting to be properly organised before opening at the (advertised) time of 8? Closing the doors prevents them from constantly telling keen beans that they’re not open yet.

I think it’s fair that you were told that you can’t just drag tables together just because you feel like it, or you thought it was fine because you were the first person there. There’s plenty of tables in that place for groups of 4. Maybe respect the staff who – again – were trying to get ready and be organised for what would surely be a busy day. Sometimes that place is full by 8:05, with a line and waiting list by 8:15. If you spent say 30 minutes there, that’s a whole table of trade wasted. I know for a fact that there are two tables of four that get great sunlight in that area. You just wanted to sit in the booths.

Alexandra Craig 8:54 am 18 Apr 16

rubaiyat said :

Alexandra Craig it would be great to know which of the cafes you review are using real free-range eggs … is that something you might consider including in the info if you remember? tx!

That’s a great idea, Masquara. From memory, a lot of cafes don’t specify on the menu whether the eggs are free range or not so I will definitely make a point of asking from now on. I think in this day and age it’s unacceptable to not use proper free-range eggs, poor little chickens.

Masquara 10:12 pm 17 Apr 16

Alexandra Craig it would be great to know which of the cafes you review are using real free-range eggs … is that something you might consider including in the info if you remember? tx!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site