The New Cart Nghi Tam is open (needs staff urgently)Posted: November 7, 2011
Doubly brilliant for me is that we live round the corner so I picked up an already bagged up latte and muesli on the way to work this morning and had something of a luxurious breakfast while I waited for my computer to boot (it takes a while here).
Anyway this is just a quick in-my-lunch-hour post to say how chuffed/knackered we are in equal measures. The place actually looks better than we ever could have hoped and everyone is telling us what a great location it is and yet it’s also off the Xuan Dieu beaten track.
Chatting with Puku’s co-owner Daragh yesterday we mused on how incredible it is that you can open a cafe in Vietnam in under a month and on a fairly limited budget. Back home the paperwork would probably take twice and the cost would be prohibitive. However don’t ever think it is easy. On Friday night alone signs turned up in the wrong colour, menus turned up full of spelling mistakes suggesting our designs had been retyped in instead of just being printed. On Sunday when we were working towards opening we had three power outages lasting 20 minutes a time.
Right now, still trying to sort out our coffee cup conundrum I’m simoultaneously making enquiries about importing reuseable eco cups while also sounding out other coffee shops owners on the possibility of a collective that could order together in a bulk large enough to make decent paper cup manufacture worthwhile.
But by far the biggest problem is staffing. If I hadn’t heard the same problems voiced elsewhere then I’d be worried that it was us. Typical of our experience was a new recruit who turned up on his first day and then left after 15 minutes never to return again – not answering his phone when we’ve called him. No experience required – there has to be someone out there. If you know someone – get them to ring Loan.
We went out for dinner Thursday night after a quick stroll around our corner of the lake. It was doubley enjoyable because we have little time for each other recently. We both work long hours on our day jobs then spend the evenings on menu design, updating websites and generally working our way through a lengthy to-do list.
Either way it’s been worth it – the new place is great. The coffee is wonderful and we’re so glad we imported a decent machine. The food and drink is the same fresh mix of sandwiches, pies, pasties, cakes and juices – plus a new beefed up breakfast menu.
It’s phenomenally exciting and seeing the cafe open gives you a real sense of pride. I should also remind you that this is not my Cafe, it’s my wife’s. I just help out when I can but Loan’s hospitality experience stretches back well over a decade before we even met.
Our next break is Christmas (staff recruitment allowing) but until then it’s hard to imagine a break from a seven day a week , 12 hours a day cycle.
Luckily I know a great place to stock up on caffeine.