We’re not particularly near the ocean, so it’s not often we get sailors in here. I imagine they have all their dock cafes and such, where they have low-priced food for lunch. Hmp
But it’s not my place to judge. I mean, I WILL judge, silently, but it won’t get any further than that. Hopefully this fellow goes back and tells all his sailor friends, and they all come and get some REAL food from someone who actually knows how to cook. And yet, somehow I doubt it…honestly the effort I put into his panini, he’d BETTER come back, or else!
He talked a lot about his job, hence why I know. I had food items cooking in the kitchen, but it took me a good fifteen minutes just to serve his coffee because he had an opinion on the marine trailer repairs industry and how materials have been hard to find, and how not as many people are casually sailing as they used to, and how he thinks the entire sailing industry has reached a point where people’s priorities have changed and it’s just terrible. For some reason. Now, I don’t usually have a problem giving anyone some serious side-eye when they’re wasting my time, but Johnny said that I need to tone it down when I’m talking to the customers. Oh, so they can waste my time with impunity? Yep, that sounds fair. Customer service, seriously…
So here I was, smiling through my teeth at the grizzled guy drinking his coffee and talking like he’d just stepped out of the golden age of piracy. To be fair, I love the sea. I grew up near Lorne, even had a little boat of my own: the Moon Princess, because I was very young and didn’t know how to name things. Also, it never actually sailed; I just got in it and pretended it did. Not that I was adverse to actual sailing. It was always something I enjoyed, hence why I couldn’t help be interested in all this boat posturing. How annoying.
But food called, I excused myself and the grizzled sea captain eventually up and left. Made me wonder how all that stuff was going down at the docks in Melbourne, with the trailer repairs and the boat catches. I should take a day off and check out the docks…
A guestbook seemed like a good idea, at first. I know, I’m probably laying it on a bit thick with all the ‘we’re new, tell us all about what we’re doing wrong!’ business, but I really wanted this to be a café of democracy. I have so many more related ideas…you wouldn’t believe how many I’m sitting on. But anyway, the guestbook seemed great until people stopped taking it seriously. Mostly the regulars, I might add, who I’m otherwise very fond of for all the business.
So, back to the drawing board. I still get pretty interesting ones though, since I encourage people to tell me a bit about themselves. One guy came in, polite and friendly and normal looking as anything, but I remember him because he was new. Also, really tall and well-dressed, like…sort of Japanese fashion? Turns out he was a very famous specialist makeup course teacher from Brisbane, down as a special guest for the debut performance of one of his students. Or whatever you call it when a makeup artist makes a debut. It was for that new musical, Wannabes, about that gang in Scotland who are desperately trying to be known as the ‘cool’ kids but keep doing things that make their local community love them instead, because deep down they’re all pretty decent folks. My sister went to see it and she said she was in stitches, so that explains all the hype.
Hearing about a makeup course teacher coming all the way down from Brisbane makes me think of some wise Kung Fu master coming to watch the tournament of his favourite student. Maybe that’s just my imagination running away with me. Still, it’s a fun image. And he was in my café! I looked him up, and you can read about him online. Maybe this is our very first celebrity ever!
So meeting famous beautician course teachers is one really good use of the guestbook, if people actually get to signing it. It’s not as interesting or useful when the regulars leave rude drawings. The public sees this stuff, guys!
Okay so I know it’s probably just one of those silly things that Johnny does to make us all feel kind of important (and actually just thinking about it, it’s probably a nefarious plot to get us to come into work early) but I can’t help but do it anyway. There’s no way my competitive spirit is ever going to let me back down for this one, and I know my cursive is like a billion times better than Marissa’s. I just have to be the first into work every Monday, because the first person in on a Monday gets to write the menu on the blackboard for the week.
It sounds silly, I know, but it’s kind of fun to just zone out for an hour (believe it or not it usually takes about that long) and just get creative. Sometimes I pretend that I’m working for this massive signwriters company in Melbourne and that writing about ‘krunchy kale’ in spiky green letters is just the beginning of my morning. Not that I have anything against working in a cafe, it’s great and I totally respect people who do it for a living because oh my goodness it is so much work, but I kind of want to do something … I don’t know, I guess, more with my life. Do more than just fetch your soy latte with almond milk every morning, you know? And sign writing, even though it’s nothing more than a chore to most people, is just something completely different I can do with my day. Plus, we have these adorable little magnetic clip on signs saying Melbourne and stuff like that that it’s super fun to throw at the wall. Just to relieve a little bit of the stress about the week ahead.
So yeah, you can bet that I’m the first one to work just about every Monday morning, but it makes me happy, okay? So just let me be.
Yeah, don’t worry about me. I get allergies, but whatever, just leave the place as it is. I’ll just sneeze all over everyone’s food and serve customers with watery eyes. REAL good look, yeah, totally.
This place is just so dusty! I get that it was renovated pretty recently and there’s still sawdust all over the place. Some people have even said that it gives the place a rustic air…so, whatever floats your boat, but it’s not for me because I have to keep breathing it in and it’s gross. I keep telling Johnny that we should get some steam cleaning. Places in Melbourne that do that sort of thing are absolutely everywhere, and I would know because I’ve lived in like six share houses and you can always get a steam cleaner at a moment’s notice. How do I know that? Oh yeah, because everyone always ditches me and leaves me to take care of the cleaning. Ugh, share houses are just the worst when someone refuses to pull their weight. You know, I don’t think Prue did her share of the vacuuming once. Not even once. How hard is it to pull out the thing and push it back and forth for twenty dang minutes, Prue? No, too busy bringing boyfriend #74 home and smooching on the sofa so none of us can watch TV? Totally fine, don’t worry about it!
Yeah, anyway, this place could be cleaner. I don’t care about rustic; in fact, I can’t understand why anyone would come here to drink coffee when they’re getting a nose full of sawdust every time they breathe in. No one else seems to be having this problem, but I’m an actual employee. I’m more important! So yeah, Melbourne’s finest carpet dry cleaning, please. As soon as possible would be good, lest I go on strike.
If things keep up like this, I’m going to need some more staff. Didn’t expect the cafe to blast off quite like this, but I’m not complaining! Again, maybe it’s just new. I’m learning on the job, as well…so it’s probably just a matter of time until I spill sugar in someone’s food and the place gets shut down. Ah well…it was nice while it lasted.
You’d be surprised how long the simple things take when they’re being set up. Everyone kept telling me to go into something like deep-fried ice-cream, or an oxygen bar. Something new and hip. Apparently hyperbaric chamber places in Melbourne are the rage right now, or…something. Not that I have incredibly high standards, but maybe I do, and I wanted to stick to it being a cafe. Actually, yeah, I just have really high standards.
Plus, I like to make coffee. I’m no expert on oxygen therapy, and I’m not going off to do some study so I can open a shop where people come and get oxygen. I’m sure there are places in the city that offer that service…meanwhile, I’m filling a niche.
Anyway, I’m rambling on about oxygen. All I know is how to protect things with layers of glad wrap. Though also, most of our food is made fresh either to order or that morning, so it’s not like I’m just hoarding the lemon slice for weeks on end. My food packaging skills are pretty great, so it’s not like I couldn’t. But I don’t.
So that’s another long and boring story of how this place got started, and how it could’ve perfect for oxygen therapy, Melbourne’s finest even. Almost, but not quite. Tune in next week to hear how I managed to win over the lady who owns the wool shop next door, even though there was so much noisy renovation over the last few months. She’s just a lovely old dear.
I love being one of the first to try this place. Johnny’s only opened…what, a month ago? And I was one of the first customers on the first day. This suburb was a cultural and coffee dead zone, unless you wanted to get it from a machine at the supermarket, so I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have something like this here. I NEED to work in public places, which people think is made because I work from home for a company in Hungary. Work in your pyjamas all the time! Nope…I need the vibe. And Johnny’s has it all, mostly.
I do have a few suggestions. And just last week I was writing on the benefits of having a roof tile repair expert from Melbourne come and check out your roofing situation, because people have been dealing with serious injuries from loose tiles, especially in storm season. This place has some nice timber beams inside, but I noticed on the path outside that there are loose tiles smashed on the floor. It might not be so popular if someone was heading in for their caffeine fix and got clocked on the noggin. Of course, you’ve got Irma’s Wool Supplies and that model plane place on either side, so it could easily be their problem. But still, roof tile restoration. It’s where it’s at. I bet the roof tiles on here are brand new.
I learn a lot of weird stuff from my writing. Just last week I was writing an article on mixing your own makeup, even though I’ve never worn makeup (except for that one school play, where everyone wore it). I also wrote an expose on why Thomas Edison wasn’t the true inventor of the lightbulb, when I’m not usually into history. This job takes me to strange, exciting places, I go on a bit of a knowledge bender for a week…and this week, it’s roof tiles. I’m practically an expert on proper roof tile restoration practices around Melbourne, so maybe I can help out my favourite café. Until I start writing on ballet techniques, or something.
Have you ever thought of hiring out this place for private functions? I just think it’d be a great idea, what with everything being so…well, you know. The decor is nice, and shoving all the tables to one side would give you a great little bit of space to do whatever with. And in this area of Melbourne? You’ve pretty much got the monopoly. Heck, I didn’t even think that they’d even have a nice cafe, but here we are. I’m sitting in it right now. Just look at that, eh?
So anyway, these private function rooms. Most are in the Melbourne CBD, at least the really nice ones, for what I’ve seen at our company events. That’s nice and all, because…well, the CBD is central. That’s why they call it that. The Central Business District. Very convenient, all there in the title. But what if you didn’t want something quite so central? Like, way out here, for instance. People wouldn’t have to travel quite so much, you have the nice wooden beams and then there’s a coffee machine right there, so if people wanted coffee…someone could make them a coffee. Not that many people are into coffee in the evenings, you know? It’s a time for tea, since tea has the same amount of caffeine but you don’t actually consume the beans like in coffee (and they’re leaves) so it’s not so bad. Basically, all you’d need are some really good tea leaves and you’re set, though some canapes and general finger food wouldn’t go awry. Maybe a really decent sound system, a proper set of speakers…and yep, one of Melbourne’s greatest party venues is all set up, right here, ready to go! All the way out here, no one would have to travel. And then you could open after hour, and everyone would think it was just the best. Or hey, how about making it a nightclub? People love nightclubs. Especially nightclubs with really great coffee.
Hey all, Johnny again! Thanks for coming, thanks for using the digital guestbook and thanks most of all for spreading the word! I didn’t know the cafe would take off like it did, but it might be because it’s all shiny and new. I suppose I did find a sort of niche. Let’s see if it keeps going!
We’ve had some great suggestions here as well, such as making sure the coffee grinder is positioned on the other side of the counter so that it’s not right next to the table and thus grinding in someone’s ear. Thanks Amanda for that one! Together, I hope we can really make Johnny’s Cafe a place you can call a second home.
Another great suggestion: name badges! Custom ones, specifically. I’ve ummed and ah’d about this for so long, and I’ve decided that I really don’t want to spare any expense when it comes to making the place homely. There’s no use going for an ugly, cheap lamp and telling yourself that you’ll upgrade to something a bit nicer later. Because then you’ve just bought something twice. If I have the means I’ll do it to make people feel at home, and sure, I also just really like the idea of all my staff having some nice name tags. I’ve been filtering through designs and I’m thinking of taking it up with the customers. Maybe I’ll have a few jars out the front, and everyone can drop a bottle cap into the one they like. Currently, I think I’m leaning towards a coffee bean-themed name badge with the person’s preferred name in the middle, but obviously this is all up for suggestions. There are even a few that light up, but that might be a little bit distracting, maybe for nightclubs and nowhere else. Anyhow, those jars should be up in a few days, after which feel free to cast your vote!! Or look up some name badges online and shoot me some suggestions. You know where I’ll be.