May 19, 2017
Annual Membership Meeting of The New Deal Cafe Cooperative
Heather Brooks – Interim Ops Manager
Here is a list of my ongoing duties and accomplishments since March:
- Make the weekly work schedule for Front of House.
- Hire/Let go of staff as necessary
- Create flyers, banners, posters, and post on social media to promote and advertise NDC (when time permits).
- Seek out suppliers for new products – test products that vendors supply on a trial basis.
- Curate pastries and figure out how to expand breakfast/coffee service.
- Coordinate with the part-time kitchen manager to come up with areas of focus, like improving items on the menu one by one, having specials more frequently, and introducing a buffet brunch and mimosas.
- I expanded hours into the morning – and hope to have Monday morning hours soon.
- Took training at Vigilante for making pour-over and brewed coffee.
- Trained employees on how to make premium brewed coffee.
- Implemented Iced Coffee and Cold Brew products.
- Sourced and priced coffee supplies (noting budget constraints and keeping environmentally friendly wherever possible); researched needed equipment for practicality, durability, and best prices; worked out the design for the proposed front counter; assisted in the selection and purchase of the new tables and chairs for the front room.
- Made the old front counter more functional. (I’m hoping to make it still more functional, and more attractive, when it’s properly re-configured.)
- Added music in the front room – still working on adding music to the back.
- Added big menus to the wall. (Thanks to volunteers who printed it!)
- Worked on decorating the front room: added a new ceiling tapestry (bought and donated by Amethyst) and a new rug (bought and donated by me), and re-potted plants into nicer planters (bought and donated by me), with the help of a board member and volunteers. (These things may seem trivial, but I deeply felt recent criticism of the café’s appearance and took it seriously, because warmth and a certain funky atmosphere is important to coffee shops. I only mention the donations so people won’t wonder if I was buying such items with café money when the budget is so tight, and to illustrate the level of personal commitment that management employees have to the NDC. There are also many donations made by board members that the general membership is not aware of – aside from just hours and effort. We’ve all donated items of value, as well as our time.)
Additionally I am seeking qualified individuals to assist in operations. The amount of hours I am putting in are not sustainable. I will need to delegate more of the work to other employees that show reliability and aptitude.
For the future, I would like to further expand hours, and add breakfast sandwiches and a bigger variety of teas. Most significantly, I would like to see a new front counter installed. Services are basically at a standstill until there is more counter space and equipment up front. A new counter would also allow us to use our big coffee brewer, as well as additional appliances to make it more functional up front, such as an under counter ice-machine and a drink display refrigerator for customers – all things to decrease wait times, serve more customers, and make service much quicker.
There are also many promotional things I would like to pursue.
- Coordinating with the other businesses in the center for events and specials.
- Posting our specials and events on a more regular basis, and coordinating with some interns and volunteers to help grow our social media presence overall.
- Creating and organizing small events in the front room.
- Attracting work-from-cafe types with apps and wifi.
- The front of the cafe really could be a happening little place, once the counter is in and funds are available to keep training and improving staff performance and streamlining procedures.