When we started with our Cafe journey about a year ago, we thought we had it all worked out being serial travellers/diners, lifelong experience in domestic scratch cooking (thanks mum) and with our strong set of core values we believed this was all we would need to carry us through whatever we would encounter…….. Well, we were half right at least!
We wanted a sustainable family business based on Quality and Integrity. Our dream of local suppliers and the best Scottish produce was relatively easy to achieve given that there are so many quality producers right on our doorstep.
Mastering the business and managing a busy Cafe and Cafe team was an entirely different matter and took some time to really get on top of with plenty speed bumps along the way, admittedly we are still very much learning every day but definitely feeling on top of things these days.
The remarkable team we have been lucky enough to recruit are an absolute godsend making work genuinely FUN for everyone which we believe is reflected in our food.
Our goal was and is to use great Scottish produce, in season, to create quality scratch made food everyday that everyone can enjoy on a day to day basis regardless of dietary needs or inclination, all while flying the flag for Scotland, for Dundee, for Downtown Dundee and for Exchange Street itself. We wanted our everyday dishes and specials to reflect the varying culinary experiences from our own travels and those of our amazing staff but at the same time to showcase the fantastic seasonal local ingredients we use to create the sometimes unusual or exotic dishes we serve.
Imagine our surprise when we discovered there is in fact a team within the Visit Scotland tourism board who focus on seeking out, assessing, supporting and promoting exactly our type of business and offer a Quality Assurance Award if you make the grade. The idea of pursuing this award was suggested when we approached Robertson Collaborate, a local marketing consultancy who helped us understand our business and how to promote it.
We decided to go for it!
We approached Visit Scotland, filled in the forms, laid out all of the very details of our entire business practice and ethics and invited the scrutiny that was prerequisite to gaining this prestigious award. You can imagine the sheer panic that set in immediately upon receipt of the award application acknowledgement email!! Reality set in, what have we done, how on earth did we expect to achieve this with no prior professional experience??? Then we calmed ourselves by rationalising the situation and accepting that we would not achieve this straight away but would at least get a great assessment from the industry professionals that could only help us to improve and develop our business right? No, being rational didn’t settle the nerves one bit, we had a secret diner assessment coming followed by a quality assurance audit with no idea when it would be, nothing was taking those nerves away!!
I suppose then you can also imagine our surprise to receive a tap on the shoulder when it was all over, the audit was complete, the assessors were satisfied? They loved what we are doing? We hit the spot with the quality of our dishes and the showcasing of quality local Scottish produce… overjoyed doesn’t begin to describe it.
What we can tell you though, we are proud as punch.