Thursday, 24 July 2014

Diner Update: Hi!

Wow, 2 weeks since I last blogged. My feelings toward this are the same as the feelings I've had when I had Hugo Bear and then Baby M. I felt like my other kids were missing out on my attention. Now, opening the diner and working billion hour days I feel like my blog is missing out on my attention. And I miss my blog too! But if there is one thing I learnt with having 3 little children it is that quality time far surpasses quantity time.

You can see your kid every day and it all means nothing unless you are taking that time to connect.

So, blog and blog readers: here is me taking that time to connect. 

It has been a crazy week. Considering we didn't advertise, we have been absolutely overwhelmed with the number of people walking through the doors. The feedback has been mostly positive but there are of course, as with any new business (old ones too), the negatives. We're working on it. Staff get better every day, they have had to learn on the job, and there are a good group of people in there now.

(my barista skillz have improved since the Big Bear days - hello, fern on flat white)

I took my eldest baby A to work with me over the weekend for the Grand Opening (which was out of control busy): turned her into a promo girl handing out balloons. Start them young.

I'm going to be working all weekend: customer service extraordinaire! Secretly I just like wearing the hat.

Here's what we do:

(a big, juicy brekky burger) 
(sorry vegos)

I may even have some more time for blogging again now the first week is over and things are settling down. We'll see!

Happy Happy!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Diner Update: The Baristas

We are nearly there... Monday 6am we open for the week with the Grand Opening party next Saturday 10am - 2pm with lots of good things happening. I've got a flier in the works, bear with me. 

Today we had barista training and called in a man who is SO respected in the Melburnian coffee world. He happens to be an old friend of Kris's... and all round awesome dude.

His name is Courtney and he is the man behind Cup of Truth in the subway under Flinders Street, and Pardon Coffee in Prahran. And after listening to him teach the Big Dog barista's today, I'm convinced he is the best instructor going round. 

He came in to the diner all serious, checking out our machine and umming and ahhing and discussing things with our Manager like placement of the grinder (we've got another machine coming in so bench space is tight) before nodding toward the group of over 10 baristas and calling them over. One whispered to me - I'm nervous, he looks mad. But no - looks can be deceiving. Courtney is a man who takes his coffee very seriously but get to know him and you better physically prepare yourself for the biggest bear hug you've had in your entire life. 

Something having the cafe taught us is that there's a difference between knowing how to make a good coffee and knowing how to make a good coffee and today, under Courtney's instruction, our barista's learnt so much. Courtney didn't just speak about the technicalities of making a coffee he spoke about how even coming into work in a bad mood can be enough to cause you to make a bad coffee. He went beyond the science into the realm of the psyche. I mean, he was thorough. If you're a coffee feign like most of us are, you understand the importance of coffee on our psyche. 

I'm only a little bit joking.

Actually wait: I'm not joking at all. Coffee is important. 

With 30 staff employed who are, at the crux of it, everything, we are stressing and stressing and stressing again: you have a job, do it well. Be proud of what you do. Best coffee, best burger, best hot dog, best service - best experience for every customer we have. 

Kris keeps saying Big Dog: Think Big, but ol' Lady Bear o'er here says Big Dog: Think Best. Best product, best price. Best everything. 

You'll be the (best) judge. 

31 hours to opening!!!!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Voice That Says 'No'

Here we go, you didn't think I was going to turn into a health blog/motivational blog did you? I'm not, really. I'm sure there is enough of those on the internet.

But, only a few days out from opening the diner and I'm realising now that even though I'd have told you I'm a go-getter kind of person, I still suffer badly from that voice that says 'no'. My immediate reaction to so many things is 'can't' or 'not possible'. I really didn't think I was like that until recently. I wasn't aware of that voice.

(there's a voice in there)
Like yesterday. We found out that being a brand new building there is no gas meter, so our plumber gave all the details we needed and told us to organise a meter which could take 7 days. Well, it was Tuesday and we are opening on Monday with test-cooking supposed to be happening from Friday so 7 days was way too long but it didn't seem that bad, surely someone would do it quickly.

A long story short: I called Simply Energy. They can't do it, call Origin they say. Origin had bad news. It can take UP TO 20 BUSINESS DAYS. I called Kris : 20 business days! Even with a priority, that's a heck of a lot of days! He says Kacie, get it done by Friday. 3 business days, I say. Are you kidding? He wasn't. He said: Don't take no for an answer. Success is painful Kacie, it's not easy, you fight until you get it and this is why most people aren't successful.

I got off the phone hating him (not kidding). I had two baby-sons whinging, I'd already been on hold and transferred for an hour, I did not want to call another company and work this crap out that could have been worked out weeks ago, surely.

But I didn't really have an option because we can't change the opening day. So I went outside with Baby M in the high chair watching Hugo climb a tree and I called EnergyAustralia and straight up I told them what was happening and they said to me 'it usually takes 10 business days but we can get it done in 3'. I did it. I didn't take no for an answer, and I got it done!

Maybe it seems insignificant but it's huge for me. I started telling myself it wasn't possible right from when Simply Energy told me they couldn't do it. I was telling myself it wasn't possible when Origin said 20 days, when I was feeling like a terrible mother not giving my children 100% of my attention.

I always think about putting them in child care but because I don't have official hours of work I change my mind. I look like a stay at home mum but I am also a working mum and I find it hard to separate the two.

I had a 2 hour meeting with a supplier today with Hugo on my phone watching kids shows on youtube (and attacking the tiler for some of the time) and Marlon bouncing on my lap. It went well, but sometimes it doesn't. Like the time Hugo threw up on Kris at the bakers factory. Or when he scaled the staircase like Spider-Man at the accountant's office when my back was turned for a minute. Good times! 

Rambling over.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Diner Update: Taking Shape

There were about 5 days last week when I didn't go in to the diner and the transformation was incredible. It went from construction site with dust and tools everywhere to almost in shape so quickly. It looks amazing. See:

The plywood wall is being whitewashed tonight.

There are tiled walls, floor, countertops. So many tiles! 

Our manager spent all last week shortlisting the applicants... all 300 of them... and on Saturday some of them popped in for a meet and greet. 

We held this meet and greet because (after our experience at the cafe!) we're acutely aware that the whole business relies on staff doing their job right. We want to create a culture right from the get go where everyone enjoys coming to work, taking pride in their work, and being rewarded for helping grow Big Dog Diner. Don't we sound awesome to work for (haha). We're employing more than 20 staff to begin with (up to 30)! 

Nearly there - we are opening on Monday (with the Grand Opening the following Saturday)!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Week 1: Make It Up (To Yourself)

If you make a promise be it to your child or to a good friend, you try to keep it right? Do you hate when people break promises to you, say they will do something and then don't do it? 

Something people tend to ignore on a whole is the kinds of promises they made to themselves that they break on a daily basis. Have you ever told yourself you will do something or start something and then not followed through? A promise to eat better, work out more, cut out junk.

When you don't follow through do you ever feel like you have cheated yourself or failed or do you, very quickly, find ways to justify it to yourself? We're all good at justifying our own decisions. "I was too busy" "I was too tired" "it was too cold" "it was too hot". The promises we make to ourselves are often the hardest ones to keep.

If you are here reading this because there is something you want to change about your body on the inside, the outside or both you need to decide that your promises to yourself are worth keeping. 

Make yourself a promise this week and we suggest starting small. It could be drinking 3 litres of water each day, eating 5 serves of vegetables, a 20 minute walk after work. Start small but get to know that feeling of going to bed each night proud of yourself. Proud that you did what you told yourself you would. Proud that you made yourself a promise and kept it. Live with integrity and do what you say you will do. If you want to succeed in achieving the body you want this is where you need to start. 

What's your promise going to be? 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

New Fitness Series: Make It Up Monday!

I'm really excited about this new so-called-series I'm bringing to my blog and I hope everyone reading this will be too! 

I am passionate about health and fitness, about living in the body I want to live in, about controlling what I put into my body: not only for myself but also to be a good role model for my children who are growing up in a western world plagued by obesity. And not just obesity, simply carrying a little extra weight around your middle can be enough to increase your chances of heart disease and diabetes. Even if you are thin: low muscle mass can play a role in osteoporosis. All scientific evidence points to health and fitness as being a key factor in living a healthy life. 

However, I lack the technical knowledge and education to be credible, so I asked BB tonight, who so happens to have a name I will call him from here on out - Kris - if he would help me on a post idea I have. He loved the idea.

My Health & Fitness Story:
I was an extremely tall and thin teenager until I was 16, and then, due to going on the contraceptive pill, I put on about 10kg which I couldn't budge until I was well into my 20s and had a baby (yes, even whilst on the contraceptive pill: another story for another time). Having a baby at only 23 I was fearful that this would be the end of my 'body'. I worked out while pregnant and I started walking on a daily basis within days of giving birth. Then, I met a body builder who taught me the way I had been working out at the gym (half hour on the treadmill and a half hour 'play' on the weights machines) was unproductive and not going to do much. My interest in how to work out piqued but learning from a body builder meant I began lifting really heavy weights, working one or two body parts a day, and not eating a heck of a lot. My body shape changed really fast: 13cm off my waist within a matter of months, but my mind state was becoming skewed. I wasn't enjoying food and fitness was becoming my main focus. There were times I chewed pieces of chocolate and spat them into the bin because it was not a cheat day. I am not proud of that, but it was a part of my journey that shouldn't be dismissed. Naturally, I grew out of that phase (many people need help from a doctor: I was lucky). The way I live now I strive to keep a healthy body and a healthy mind. I enjoy food (just look at this blog) and I enjoy life (just look at this blog). Knowledge is power and that is where my Kris comes in, who came into my life 4 and a half years ago....

His Health & Fitness Story:
Nearly 10 years ago Kris was a teacher at what is now (but wasn't then) known as The Australian Institute of Fitness. He is adamant that the majority of students who pass the Personal Training certificates do not come out with enough knowledge to protect their clients from injury. They do not come out with enough knowledge of how to train their clients in the most effective ways. He often sees personal trainers in his gym training their clients in ways that go against what he taught. Like me, he too has gone through ups and downs in his journey. As a teenager he was one of Australia's most promising swimmers. He was training with Australia's top coaches, breaking records, but by the time he was 15 already gaining a disordered view of how to eat: how to live. He chose to give up swimming (to his parent's dismay) but never left the fitness industry entirely. I have heard Kris talk (ohhhh I have heard Kris talk...) about our body and our mind and how control over these relates to success in life. And this brings us to the series we have planned.....

We've decided to start a series called Make It Up Monday. It's a health and fitness related post that will be published every Monday morning to motivate you, give you tips for, and encourage you to make up any damage you've done during the weekend or week before.

This is my place to do something positive and I hope everyone likes it, shares it, and lets me know what you think of it. 

The first post will go up this coming Monday.