COOP CAFÉ PUBLIC MEETING
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22 2011
The meeting was called by the CNFC to receive input from members, and was attended by about 50 people.
In attendance from the CNFC was: Julian Ayers, Chair; Kali Saltibus, Kitchen Manager; and Tanya Krahn, Raw Bar Manager.
Following is an excerpt from email comments received by the CNFC, included here because it summarizes the appreciation and positive direction of the meeting:
I really appreciate that a public meeting has been called and that you are open to receiving input from the Co-op membership and Cortes community.
First off, I’m delighted that the restaurant is now in place and I think it serves an “essential service” for the Cortes community. It’s a warm and welcoming place with great atmosphere providing a gathering place for socializing, dining, and entertainment. I know it wasn’t easy to open but I applaud the visionaries who conceived and actually got it up and running.
I believe the café has been open for about 11 weeks now. With the onset of September, I’m not surprised that revenues have dropped off, as is the case with all service oriented businesses on Cortes Island. I assume the objective is to find a way to keep the café open through the quieter months so that it can fulfill it’s role throughout the seasonal ups and downs of the entire year. This is a worthy objective. So, where do we go from here?
Obviously, the café must find ways to appeal to the widest possible spectrum of the year-round Cortes Island population. I understand that the idea was to open with a simple menu in order to keep costs down and test the taste buds of potential customers. It’s now incumbent upon the management, staff, and supporters of the café to go to take the next steps….
Following is a summary of the conversation, with all comments from attendees listed. (parenthesis contain comments from CNFC).
– Septic system, porta-potties, and the Health Dept, and how does that affect our liquor licence, and Health Permit? (we are operating legally and with current permits, but the use of portapotties is “temporary”. ie In time, the Health Inspector could, at his discretion, order the issue to be resolved)
– No facility to wash hands before eating. (There is a sink provided by the till for guests and staff)
– All workers including volunteers must have Food Safe
– Food kept in the steam table gets overcooked and un-appetizing
– Food kept in the glass rotary heater dries out
– Food presentation and display could use improving
– Food pricing/portions have been inconsistent
– Pizza too expensive
– Bottled beer too expensive
– Preserve integrity of food choices and respect other peoples choices
– Reach out to the whole community with diversity of food choices
– Some vegetarians wont eat in café if meat served.
– Meat-eaters not eating in café because it is vegetarian.
– Not duplicate food offerings from nearby establishments.
– Prefer fresh-brewed coffee, not in thermos.
– Blenders loud at the juice bar
– Pre-made, plastic-wrapped sandwiches not appealing
Food and Menu:
– Request for animal proteins to be served
– Request that animal proteins not be served
– If animal proteins are served, prefer local, organic, hormone/antibiotic free
– Pasta/potato salads not a winter food item
– $10.00 dinner specials
– $5.00 lunch specials
– Fresh food made to order
– Hot, ready to go breakfast items
– Create a space for “fine dining” one night a week with table service.
– Guest chefs
– Raw bar very good
– Be a “bakery/café”
– Healthy choices-low sugar treats for kids, healthy snacks for after school.
– Serve chai
– Different nights for herbivores/carnivores
– Outside BBQ for carnivores
– Healthy, sustainable meat
– Comfort food, Moosewood-style
– Samples of raw desserts at till
– More local food used in the menu, specials featuring local, support island farmers
– Live music weekends
– TV, sports games in the rec room
– Kids time in the rec room “Happy Hour” after school
– Keep rec room funky-old sofas etc.
– Pool table and or ping-pong
– Storytelling, networking events, community meetings.
– Theme nights
– Give the café a name and a sign
– Motto: “Local, seasonal, fresh”
– Promote and advertize daily specials, Tideline, Marketer
– Hot drink special of the day (non-alc., coffee, chai etc)
– Need outside signage: “open”, “café” etc.
– Need to advertize more
– Communicate “what makes us special”
– Large portions, fair prices
– Micro-brewery draft beer special
– Have “theme nights” for food offerings
– Have reservations and “pre-sell” specialty nights.
– have a wide range of pricing.
– One lower-priced but nutritious dish- every day.
– Educate the community, cooking demos, raw food prep etc.
– HBI has the “U of Q”-successful
Hours and ways to not lose money in the slow months:
– Open same hours as store, longer on weekends
– Close mon-thurs, to save money, open weekends
– On slower days, have reduced offerings/less staff
– On busy days, more selection/more staff
– Ask for volunteers to help subsidize labor costs
– Have a volunteer sign-up sheet at the till
– Reduce packaging, use glass mason jars, used plates, used coffee cups etc for takeout.
The Cafe Committee thanks everyone who attended the meeting. Your time and suggestions are very much appreciated. The Board is looking into the issues raised, and is working on a member survey as the next step.