Monday 14th July 2008
This week was going to start so well, we had over staffed the Café so that we could go out to Bunbury looking for catering equipment, you guessed it, one of them rang in sick.
We have been charging the battery on Carolyns car on a regular basis, you guessed it, it didn’t start and she had to get the car jump started.
We were supposed to be leaving Busselton early to give us as much time as possible to find what we need, that’s right, the kids took forever to get ready and when Carolyn was using the blender to blend the soup it broke. We should have known it was going to be a difficult day.
We decided that we would still have enough staff to cope while we were gone, so better late than never we headed for Bunbury and the Catering Supplies Business that would solve all our problems.
We had been told by a few people in the catering trade that the place to go for all your needs was Hospitality House in Bunbury, well it might have worked for them but today it failed miserably to impress us.
We parked the car and walked in to find a fairly well stocked showroom, we had a look at all the Glassware and Crockery picking out a few things as we went. We then went to look at the larger pieces of equipment, which is what we were really looking for.
The display of larger goods was a bit limited to say the least, but that is what we have found elsewhere, nobody over this side of the country holds any stock, they all order it in from the East as required.
We went to the desk and asked the woman there if she had any catalogues of larger items of catering equipment that we could look at, to our surprise she said no. she said “you can see it all on the website”, Ian pointed out that the website doesn’t have any prices on it, “that’s because there is so much on it we couldn’t possibly price it all”, we were tempted to point her in the direction of the Argos website and say “now tell me you can’t price it all”, but we thought it wasn’t worth going there.
She said “if you tell me what you want I can give you a price”, we asked for the price of an ambient Cake display unit to go on the counter top, she said “you need to talk to your Environmental Health Officer before you go for something like that”, we said “it is only to keep Cakes and Cookies in, the same as we do at the moment”, she said “we only have refrigerated ones so you will probably have to go to one of those plastic places to have one made up”.
We asked if they did Hot Dog Warmers and she pulled out a catalogue and showed us a picture of it, now this is looking promising, they do have catalogues after all, she just didn’t want anyone else to see them. We asked the price and she tapped the code into the computer and came out with a price way above the other suppliers that we have tried.
We then asked about a Donut Maker, now this was a bit more difficult because the information we wanted was in two different catalogues. She showed us a picture of a donut fryer and gave us a price, she didn’t however know what we were talking about when we asked about a small extractor to fit over it to take the fumes away so that we could use it on the counter rather than in the kitchen. She then pointed out that we would also need “the donut pusher outer thing”, she was a very descriptive lady. She showed us a picture of one and gave us a price.
We then asked about an Ice Cream Freezer and she showed us the catalogue page with Ice Cream Freezers in it and pointed at one of them, “that will cost you about $2000” she said, we pointed out that the one she had mentioned only held four tubs of ice cream and that we would be looking at the one that held nine. She said that she could only get a price on the one she had already quoted and “until you know exactly what you want we can’t possibly give an accurate price.
We then said “how about Tables and Chairs”, she threw some bits of plastic at us and said, “they’re the colours we can do straight away, anything else you will have to have made to order”. We pointed to a table and said “what about that one”, she said “well it all depends on the size, they come in 500, 600, 700, 800, and did you want it round or square”, we said “that one”, to which she replied “as well as the Top it also depends on what base you have, that one is a heavy base so it is more expensive, a lighter base would be cheaper”, we said “that one”, pointing to the same table, she said “that one, that’ll be about $200, $80 for the base and $80 for the top”. We refrained from double checking her calculations, paid for the goods that we had picked up earlier and departed. It is almost like the sales staff over here become personally attached to their wares and cannot bear the thought of letting anything go.
If the sales staff in WA learned to sell stuff then it might, just might be worthwhile for the producer to stock goods over this side of the country rather than having to store it all out east, then we wouldn’t have to pay so much or wait so long for things to be delivered.
After we left there we went into Bunbury Town Centre and bought some office bits and pieces for the business before taking the kids for lunch at Rex's Cafe and it was very good.
We got back to the Café at about 2.45 pm, they had been busy which was good and they had coped without us which was even better.
Carolyn took her car to the garage to have the battery checked and they confirmed that it was the battery that was faulty and not the alternator, which was handy. The new battery cost $170 so we’d hate to think how much an alternator would be.
If there is anyone out there that knows of a decent Catering Equipment Wholesaler who can show us some samples and deliver within a reasonable time, drop us a line and let us know, we would be extremely grateful.