The hard(and fun) part comes now!

Trying to get from cherries
Trying to get from cherries
to coffee beans in 4 months
to coffee beans in 4 months

After the euphoria of finally locating a home for Red Bulb, it dawned on me that the process of setting up the cafe has finally become a reality. It is perhaps a blessing in disguise that we did not manage to secure the first location as we ended up with more time to source out suppliers and also try out more coffee, syrups, tea, and other cafes(including those outside of Toronto). All these preparatory work has really come in useful as we set about building up the cafe.  With a target ETA time of July, this does not leave us with a lot of time.

On a high level, these are what we are looking at:

  1. Renovations – Thanks goodness for Sching. With her background and creativity, Red Bulb is in good hands here – the biggest concern is whether we will run into any extended discussions with Town Hall. Hopefully, they can be fair and will not adversely disrupt our timelines.
  2. Coffee & stuff – Ahh.. the key ingredients. I am thankful that we had put in a lot of hard work here and we should be able to decide on our coffee. This aspect of the journey has been the most interesting so far, and as I mentioned in my earlier blog entry, there are a lot of impressive folks out there.
  3. Equipment – Most of the key beverage equipment(eg, espresso machine, grinders, etc) has been decided, but we need to nail other food-related items like pastry case, baking equipment, coolers etc. This will in turn impact the dimensions on the renovations side.
  4. Supplies – It is always the small things that cause the most trouble, and there are a lot of small things in a cafe. From paper cups to napkins, from cleaning supplies to cleaning equipment, from milk pitchers to thermometers – they affects customer experience in some way.
  5. Marketing – Getting the word out. Sching’s branding work has kick-started the process and we need to start the communication.¬† While blogs and facebook are great, we will need to reach out to the rest of the world. We like to have a booth at the Stouffville Strawberry Festival, and will need to map out a continuous plan to convince folks to give us a chance. Friends and fans (that’s you :-) the red movement reading this post) will be critical to our success.
  6. Administrative preparation РThe boring stuff; but needed to make things happen, stuff including  permits, accounting, payroll, GST/HST, etc. The one interesting exception but also critical, is to make sure all of us(including our baristas) receive the right training to provide the best products and service to our customers. It is no use having the most prominent location if we scald the milk in a latte and be rude to our customers.

Of course, each of these buckets consists of numerous little tasks and inter-dependencies. With this, tax season, and also my current full-time job, I have not been posting as many blog posts as I would have liked. Nonetheless, the blog is Red Bulb’s window to our friends and I will probably give up my weekly dose of ’24′ and Jack Bauer to provide weekly updates. This has been a plan eight-years in the making and over the next few months, everything that previously existed on paper and in my thoughts will be turned into a tangible 850 sq feet cafe. Scary..obviously! Busy…without a doubt! EXCITING.. I can hardly wait!

p/s: for fans of ’24′, this is the last season. here are some Jack Bauer jokes for the weekend.

Posted on
Sunday, March 28th, 2010

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