Bear With Me – catching name for a great new café that has opened up in South Hobart. Co-owner Alicia Liu is already a familiar name in Hobart having successfully opened and run Vilicia. Alicia shares her insights into how to run a successful café, the advice she would give to her younger self and what it takes to keep good staff.
1. Congratulations on the opening of your second café, Bear With Me. Such a great name, how did you come up with it?
Thank you.:-) We are very new to South Hobart (SOHO) which has a very strong community, so we wanted to bring something different to the area. Our message was that we’d appreciate people to BEAR with us while we grow and Bear with us while they enjoy our great product. (And it is such GOLD saying it that we’ve already had so many cracking jokes!)
2. You teamed up with Chef, Lachlan Fletcher from Melbourne; how did that come about?
We know coffee, and Lachie knows food, it’s a perfect combo!
3. Australia is known for its coffee; some would even label us as ‘coffee snobs’! Why do we all have such an addiction to it?
Coffee is liquid gold!!! We are fortunate that Australia has such a strong coffee culture!
4. Bear with me is your second café. Your first is the well known, Vilicia; why did you decide to take on another café?
We love the coffee industry and would love to try our best to bring our product and cheery vibe to more people.
5. Managing a café always looks so easy [from the outside!]. What are the challenges you face in owning and operating two cafes?
Keeping consistency at all times is a good challenge. A lot of people know how to provide excellent service with an excellent product, but the key is to keep providing excellent service and product all the time.
6. You have a wonderful community of followers on Facebook; how important is it for the business to be social?
Social engagement is critical to business now, especially in the hospitality industry!
It in-plants recognition of business, shares product knowledge and business belief, updates business information, and most important, creates the connection.
7. Andrew Pearce from Collins SBA is your adviser, what value has he added to your business regarding advice and direction?
Andrew has been a fantastic guide and support for us from day one; he helps us with his professional knowledge with regards to accounting, business insights, financial planning and business strategies. We sincerely appreciate him for his professional and caring support.
8. People’s dietary requirements have changed so much over the years, how do keep up and ensure you can cater to everyone’s tastes and make a profit?
Every single effort has been made to ensure product quality. We source our ingredients from high-quality local suppliers. Our food knowledge means we know about what we serve and the nutritional benefits, allergies factors etc. Efficiency, workflows and designing are the key factors to be cost effective in this business.
9. Running two businesses must mean you need staff, how have you been able to find the right team for your cafes?
An excellent business attracts excellent staff itself. Our team are given the opportunity to further develop their skills. We are appreciative and treat our team well, so they enjoy being part of the “family”.
10. What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self about your future?
Do what you know, get better at it, dream and plan, be determined, work hard and stay humble.
11. What type of personality and skills do you need to run two successful cafes?
Positive, determination, kind, honest, confident, efficient, sharp sense for industry development and trend.
Bear With Me is located at 399 Macquarie Street, South Hobart and is open early enough to grab a coffee and breakfast at 7.00am and closes at 5.00pm.