HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH GUS' COFFEE
I met Gus originally through family and friends. I had gotten into coffee for a little bit before Gus offered me a job with Gus’ as he wanted to build a franchise out of what was a small little store, Northside Plaza Gus’, and I was keen to give it a crack. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at the time, so, yeah, I joined the Gus’ team, which at the time was just Gus and I. That was how I got started.
Originally, I didn't want to open a franchisee, but I did want to further my career with Gus' Coffee. My original plan was to be on the corporate side and sort of continue developing the franchise, which I was fortunate enough to have the chance to help with in those first 8 years.
Obviously these things take time, so, things were progressing slowly. We did have a couple of stores, but once the opportunity came to potentially have a shop here in Yeppoon, I could see myself running the drive through store.
Doing a fair bit of time at McDonalds, I got to learn the ins and outs of running a fast paced ship and drive thru experience. So I thought I had good experience that I could bring in developing the systems and the procedures that was needed for it to be successful.
I always wanted to own my own business, ever since I can remember as a kid, I sort of had influences in my life that were business men and I thought I could see myself doing that.
When the opportunity for Yeppoon came up, I was sort of at a place where I was getting married and we were looking to start a family. So obviously I was starting to think about boosting my ability to up my earning capacity and I saw huge potential here in Yeppoon and so that's been good as well.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE JOB?
Favourite part is very hard. In the industry in general, you have to love people so I do love working with people. I love serving! But on the coffee side of things, I'm a bit of a coffee nerd. I would say I really love how much there is to learn and how much science goes into it. The deeper you dig, the more you can learn and you can always improve. I also like training and teaching other people those skills as well and sharing that passion with other people and seeing them become passionate about it.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE GUS' COFFEE BLEND?
Out of the two blends, first of all, I love them both, but I do prefer the Red Blend. Having drank a lot of coffee from a lot of roasters and cafés everywhere, I think our Red Blend stands up against the best, and I think the Black does as well but the red is my favourite and I generally drink a 12 ounce latte with two shots. That's my daily driver, however, I am a bit of a mood based drinker after that so long blacks, iced lattes, espressos, yeah I love it. I love it all.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS IN THE FUTURE?
I feel like the first two years of the business have been a bit of a whirlwind, it's been by far the fastest two years of my life, but I feel like the dust has settled now. We do want to refine a few things. We're always looking to improve in our service and quality. I would say the biggest room for improvement would be adding a bit more to our food line and down the track, maybe even developing more of a menu to dine in and see if we can make some things in-house as well.
Ultimately though, I would love to just be continuing to do what we're doing now, and that is delivering good service and good coffee every day and I feel like we've become a staple for people's day here in the community. If we're still doing that in five years and hopefully ten years, then that's my goal achieved.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE STORE?
I love our dining area. This was probably the most exciting part. I mean, obviously the drive thru is exciting and we're all stoked about that. But after opening the shop and walking into the dining area, I just really love the ambience of the place.
Over time people have started to work out that we do actually have a dine in and it's got quite a nice feel. Some mornings our tables are full and seeing people with their mugs and stuff like that is quite cool.
I do my office work out here just because I like being in this in the space.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT HAS HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
What changed my perspective on coffee/the coffee industry, was my experience at Northside Plaza, which has a very different clientele, very diverse.
Finding a sense of community just through a coffee shop and serving customers over time, day in, day out, and building rapport has helped me al lot. At the start it was a customer service relationship, but eventually you end up making friends with a lot of people and you get that sense of community. When I was young and starting in the coffee game and in hospitality, you treat people just like a “customer”, not as a person that’s part of your community. That's what I wanted to bring here. It's also what I love the most about the job.
WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNT THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
Everyone is very different and people's differences don't necessarily mean better or worse. Everyone's got their strengths, everyone's got their weaknesses, and I suppose it's something I always knew but I've learned a lot more working with a bigger team.
One other thing I’ve learnt that’s even more important than quality and service is that people just want consistency and predictability. You could have the absolute best thing, but if you're not consistent with it, you're wasting your time.
WHO'S SOMEONE SPECIAL IN YOUR LIFE?
Obviously my wife, she's amazing, she's my partner in crime. We’ve got three kids and very busy lives, Sharni does a lot! She helps me with the back end stuff like the bookwork and helps with all things related to the accounting. She also helps clean in the store when we do extra nights, sometimes we just have to catch up on certain jobs so she’ll come in and help.
She also looks after our three kids a lot, which helps me, enabling me to be here and do what I do. She does all that while maintaining her own career as well, so she's pretty amazing.
WHAT'S THE BENEFIT OF OWNING A GUS' FRANCHISE?
The benefit of owning your own franchise is being able to work the hours around your life. Obviously having three kids and a wife who also works, life can be pretty full on, but I am glad that I get to work my cafe working hours around what I need for life.
Also being able to decide who you work with every day. I know that might sound bad, but I love that I get to choose my own staff and I get to work with people I like every day because I genuinely love all of my staff and I think that's a huge bonus. Not a lot of people get to go to work and say they enjoy everyone that they work with.
WHAT'S YOUR MESSAGE TO THE YEPPOON COMMUNITY?
My message to the Yeppoon community would be first of all, a huge thank you. Thank you for welcoming us into the community and also supporting us for this whole two years! It's been a learning curve for us and you’ve been amazing throughout it all.