You might think of your favourite cafe as a meeting place, a local hangout, a haven from the hustle and bustle of the street. You’d be right in thinking of it that way, but it’s easy to forget that it’s also a work environment. As a cafe owner, the first thing I see when I walk into anywhere that serves food is a workspace, which means I’ll be looking at things like functionality of layout, OHS measures, kitchen lighting and so on. For me, it’s an office.
When it comes to commercial interior design, Melbourne takes the cake for having its finger on the pulse, possibly to a fault. I mean, how many times a year are we supposed to update something in order to stay relevant? At least once, it seems. Maybe this is not so much of a thing for conventional offices, where people off the street aren’t turning up expecting a hangout hotspot. It would be really nice, I sometimes think, to be able to have conventional office fitout. For Melbourne businesses that aren’t cafes, a new set of fittings and furnishings must last at least two years, which is something I can only dream of in my industry. The grass is always greener, though.
In fact, Cafe Mint does have a small office out the back. It’s actually a converted outhouse, so it’s seriously tiny, but it’s where the paperwork gets done. When I say paperwork, I obviously mean digital paperwork, which is a good thing because there’s legitimately no room for anything other than a chair and a laptop. Sometimes I sit on the floor because it’s too much of a hassle to close the door once you get the chair in. Sometimes, like around tax time, I do dream of having more space, but then I remember that our main office is the cafe itself.