Sustainable Recipe Coordinator @ www.HelpMeCook.com.au - loving my newfound freedom after finishing my 2nd round of tertiary education whilst working full time :)
Published September 8th 2012
The Coffee Club: Lack of consistency is key
Most of us will have heard of The Coffee Club franchise, or at least have seen or walked past one of their stores. For those of us who do not know, The Coffee Club is a large café chain which you'll encounter not only in Australia and New Zealand, but in other countries such as Thailand, New Caledonia and China.
As with many chains, cafés and stores in general, there are always often merits and opportunities for improvement. As far as The Coffee Club goes, I will only speak for the ones that I have personally eaten at. Although large chains generally tend to pride themselves on consistency, I can say that The Coffee Club has not offered this to me as yet. If you are looking for a consistent level of service or food, you will unlikely get it throughout various locations, but hopefully at your local one.
The reason I usually ever go to The Coffee Club is because they offer an all-day breakfast. A negative note I must make about The Coffee Club is that it is quite expensive, charging café-restaurant prices for what would be worth it, if the services were consistent with them.
My two local Coffee Clubs are Randwick and Maroubra. Whilst I enjoyed the service of the Randwick store far more than that of the Maroubra one, I can't say that the food was as good. The Maroubra store however was an extremely disappointing experience in terms of service, despite the food almost being adequate.
First, I ordered a drink in which they accidentally forgot to put a shot of coffee. That would be fine as mistakes happen; however, when I was reordering this drink – the service staff member actually walked away as I was asking her a question. She completely ignored me, losing any chance of receiving a small tip.
When we received our food, I was pleasantly surprised as they continued to utilise the particular hollandaise sauce that I love. The eggs benedict with salmon (known as "eggs Atlantic" at most places) unfortunately had salmon that was not fresh. As a lover of salmon who frequently eats it, I immediately smelled and tasted that it was stored incorrectly for a short time or possibly held for slightly longer than it was meant to. It was by all means fit for human consumption – in fact, you can see how nice it actually looks in the picture. However, those who consume a lot of high quality smoked salmon will be disappointed.
The baby spinach and mushroom version of the eggs benedict was adequate, but nothing special apart from the hollandaise sauce which is consistent with all versions of the eggs benedict at The Coffee Club.
When my remade coffee finally arrived, it came in the same cup as before (as I stated that this was satisfactory, despite thinking it was a bit of a strange question). My coffee did not taste like the original drink I got plus a shot of coffee as I asked for. It tasted vile and completely different to what I had ordered. If I wasn't a caffeine addict in need, I would not have finished it.
The tea was adequate. The hash browns were nice – of the correct texture, flavour and temperature. The trouble is that the service was so bad, that I will never return to The Coffee Club at Maroubra. The wait staff weren't all terrible, and I even forgive them for giving the wrong meal to the wrong person.
What I won't forgive though, is the fact that as I was paying, the person who appeared to be on duty as the boss or the owner was yelling at a junior barista and talking to him in an abusive and condescending tone. It is no wonder that the vibe of that particular store is so negative when management isn't competent enough to communicate with employees without being rude. I was in clear view by the way, so I mustn't be the only person who witnesses this sort of behaviour.
On the contrary, Randwick's store has absolutely lovely staff working there that are always extremely helpful and nice. Depending on what you value, you may be better off trying out your local Coffee Club once or twice, or even ignoring it altogether. I know I'd rather spend my $25-$30 for breakfast supporting a local small business than a franchise that can't seem to get its act together. Perhaps you're lucky enough to have a decent café with all-day breakfast near you with consistently great service and food. I know I'm on the hunt for one of those now.
I totally agree Maz, I went to a restaurant recently, and while the food was adequate, the waiter and chef had a shouting matching from the dining room into the kitchen. All the diners tried to ignore it but it certainly made an atmosphere and I will never eat there again, but I doubt they will last long.
I really like the Carlingford Coffee Club. The staff are extremely friendly and there are often very cheap deals that are so worth it! I love visiting the Coffee Club for a good long chat with my mother.