Café owner John Pace has achieved a strong customer following for The Bean Chamber café and established a great team. More recently, he has been working with Realise Business Advisor Tim Noye to focus on fine-tuning operations to provide a new level of customer service that will enhance and grow his business.

John Pace moved quickly to snap up The Bean Chamber café in Parramatta’s legal precinct when it was put on the market in 2019. 

John has always wanted to run his own café and was delighted with the opportunity to purchase the George Street cafe, which he knew had a regular local client base already. The Bean Chamber café offers favourites like all-day breakfasts and prides itself on great coffees. It attracts shoppers, office workers and courthouse customers.

Plans to streamline service delivery

John says he is passionate about serving his local community with excellent quality food and drink on a first-name basis. 

With Monday to Friday 7am to 2pm opening hours, operations are very targeted to the courthouse and office crowds. Within this targeted timeframe, John wanted to achieve smoother service and greater profits. He approached Realise Advisor Tim Noye for a free consultation, which included an in-depth review of operations at the café.

Realise Business on board for an operation audit 

Tim suggested conducting an Operation Audit to see how the business was currently trading and to determine the right advice for John’s particular circumstances.

He found that John runs a tight-knit business with a small, friendly team. As the business owner, John is actively involved and can cover all key areas including the kitchen, general operations, finance and staff training. However, John and his staff can only do so much in a business with a narrow service timeframe. 

On reviewing the audit findings, the next goal for John and Tim was to develop new strategies to maximise existing staff skills, decrease workforce stress and offer something fresh to the café’s customers.

Strategies for a smooth workflow

Tim gave advice around tweaking the current menu offering and ensuring the right person was doing the right job to make the flow of work smoother. 

Speeding up the lunch service was another goal, and not just from a work efficiency perspective. Busy customers with a limited lunch break are happier with slick service and feel more confident, so are more likely to return. Happy customers are also good for staff morale.

The allocation of food preparation time became a key solution to the workflow puzzle. The owner and small team could only do so much between themselves during service times where everyone is on the ground and frantically busy. Prepping food after hours in quieter times was the answer. It enabled them to extend the menu and to offer something different while ensuring speedy service times.

Designing a popular Winter menu

Tim and John worked out how to add a ‘Winter Menu’ element, which was prepped after operational hours and served by junior members of staff. This allocation of labour alleviated stress to the owner and helped to speed up the lunch service.

Winter Menu offerings added a local point of difference to the café, and they have brought in valuable cashflow to the weekly takings. 

The Winter Menu was created, costed, and implemented with freshness, value, and speed front of mind. The Bean Chamber Cafe served up a budget-friendly Homemade Winter Dish of the day for customers. The selection focused on great comfort dishes that are traditional favourites but are no longer frequently made at home – instantly warming offerings like ‘Beef Goulash & rice’ or ‘Steak Dianne casserole’.

Using technology for costing café and restaurant operations

As well as choosing delicious and practical menu items to feature, the new menu needed to have dishes that work well financially. When different dishes were created, they were also costed and imported using software made available by Tim at Realise Business.

Special offer

Bean Chamber Café is offering a Homemade Winter Dish of the day served with rice. Examples of the $13 Special offer dish include: ‘Beef Goulash & rice’ or ‘Steak Dianne casserole’

Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available upon request.

Ready to offer more

The new workflow, with key food preparation scheduled for quieter periods, ensured that all members of the Bean Chamber Café team are working to their strengths during busier times and feel valued. 

John will be working on marketing the café and its seasonal offerings to retain customers and attract new interest,including revamping the café’s Instagram & Facebook presence.

John reveals that he feels confident about the changes made and is really enjoying working within the café – so much so that he is now looking to introduce a corporate catering offering.

John sums up his experience developing the café operations with the aid of Realise Business, “I have really enjoyed working with Tim, he has a lot of energy and has been a great help.”

For advice on streamlining your Parramatta business to maximise team talents and business profits, contact the consultants at Realise Business