Owning a café is a very popular dream for many people.
Was it always your dream?
Owning a cafe hasn’t been my biggest dream. It has always been a passing thought and I know how much is involved. I was actually looking to set up a gourmet gelato hole in the wall business at Freshwater but couldn’t find a cute and small space small enough so Cruise Espresso was the next best thing.
Has it lived up to your dream?
Cruise Espresso has been an interesting journey, not a dream. Leaving the soulless corporate world was my dream. Leaving the comfort and reliability of a corporate job was the best thing I have ever done.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
For me, it has always been finding the right balance. The balance to look after my well-being and health, my daughter and my staff first. It’s the ability to respect each individual as they grow and move on. Letting the best baristas and staff go in order to support their dreams is sometimes sad for me. But I encourage every staff member to live their lives like I have mine so I try to provide a safe environment where they can totally bounce off.
What would be your advice to others thinking about jumping in to setting up a café?
A cafe is a people business. Nothing more. You need to be a people person. You also need to have just one amazing feature product that you will be known for and a theme for your cafe.
What did you do before owning a café?
I worked in corporate in the CBD for Telstra Corporation and was also involved in the financial markets.
If you didn’t own a café, what would you be doing now?
I would be in the financial and property markets and having loads of free-time doing what makes me deeply happy.
What’s your favourite dairy free milk type?
Definitely ADC Almond and Oat. I alternate these milks with my coffee after a sweet shot of espresso. I also now use it on cereals and porridge. My home is now filled with these.
Have you noticed your customers becoming more knowledgeable in food and beverage choices?
Australians are always trying to be ‘healthy’. They will try all types of fad diets. But increasingly, there is a shift towards plant-based.
Have you noticed a distinct shift towards plant-based?
How do you think ADC performs?
ADC is becoming a lot more accepted and known. Several customers still ask for Almond Milklab. However my default plant-base milks are ADC. The big change came when we had the free coffee morning using ADC. It only took me a week to be convinced that I needed to switch to ADC.
How important is it to buy locally, buy Australian? Why?
Yes it’s important. Covid has made more Australians conscious of supporting local businesses. ADC needs to have a campaign to promote this further. Not many people understand or know why you guys are so great!