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5 ways one cafe is solving challenges and thriving


Nick Ravanti is finding creative solutions to help his Longshot Cafe in Beecroft, NSW thrive. 

At a glance

Here’s a snapshot of advice from our interviewee:

  • Reassess pricing and communicate changes to customers clearly.
  • Manage stock carefully to get the best deals without overcommitting.
  • Shop around for the best deal from suppliers.
  • Stay flexible to meet customer demand.
  • Invest in and appreciate your staff.

According to recent YouGov research, commissioned by Prospa, 88% of small business owners anticipate challenges over the next 12 months – increased operating costs, higher inflation and higher fuel prices are the primary causes. 

The good news is that 70% of respondents rate their current business health as good or very good – Aussie small business owners are now more comfortable in challenging conditions and better able to manage the business impact.  

Nick Ravtani and the team at Cafe Longshot in Beecroft, NSW are among those finding practical solutions to their challenges. Here’s how. 

1. Increasing prices

Coffee sellers say the price of coffee has gone up 20-30 per cent in the past 12 months. ABC News, August 2022.

Nick has had to pass on some price increases to his customers and was careful to communicate the change clearly.  

“While some people have complained, we’ve found that [price increases are] one of those things that people already know about and are really understanding of,” Nick says. “It’s not a secret that things are getting more expensive but we made sure to have a sign at the counter in the cafe letting people know, and we also posted on socials.”

2. Careful stock management

“We always tried to use seasonal products when we could, but now we’re being much more careful to rely on them.” – Nick Ravtani, Cafe Longshot

With the price of produce rising, Nick and Longshot are changing what they order and how they order, and how much stock they keep on hand.  

“We aren’t holding as much stock for as long. We’ve started ordering more often, but smaller quantities. It means we’re more flexible because we aren’t sitting on a lot of products that we may not use,” Nick says.  

“In the same way that we’re making changes, so are the suppliers. They’ve increased their minimum orders, and if you don’t make the minimum you need to pay a surcharge. So you need to make sure that you’re ordering from the places that work best for your immediate needs.”

Speak with a small business lending specialist about funding solutions to take your business into summer strong.

3. Assessing suppliers and costs

“If a supplier is getting too expensive, we review what we’re getting from them and if we can get it cheaper elsewhere.” – Nick Ravtani, Cafe Longshot

Nick believes that in the same way that customers look for the best value for money, businesses need to do the same.  

“You can’t be afraid to move if there is something better for your business out there – you need to shop around to find the best fit,” he explains.  

While produce and ingredients are the obvious things they keep an eye on in hospitality, Longshot is in the process of reviewing all of its costs and suppliers to make sure it’s getting the most bang for its buck.

4. Looking for new customer bases

“We realised that tradies were coming past early in the morning on the way to jobs, so we adjusted our opening hours to meet that new demand.” – Nick Ravtani, Cafe Longshot

As lockdowns eased, office workers still didn’t resume boarding trains to the city in droves. Longshot, opening at 7am, was serving lots of tradies on the way to early morning jobs or worksites, and Nick decided to make the most of it by opening half an hour earlier.  

That adaptability has been important to Longshot’s continuing success.  

“It’s a no-brainer to change things so that we are open when more people want to visit,” Nick says. “Half an hour extra in the morning isn’t a lot of time really, but it makes a big difference over the course of the week when you’re serving more people.”

5. Investing in staff

“We’ve cut back on staffing on the quieter days to invest more hours on our busier days.” – Nick Ravtani, Cafe Longshot

While Longshot runs a monthly roster, Nick explains that it’s important to be able to adjust it on the fly if needed.  

“We’re really lucky to have flexible staff who can adjust their shifts if needed,” Nick says. “It means we’re confident in making changes as we go if we need to.”  

For example, when Nick and the team realised that their locals were still working from home on Mondays and Fridays, and in need of their Longshot hit, they scheduled more staff for those days. 

With that flexibility so valuable, Nick and Longshot are keen on retaining the people they have. Part of the plan to keep staff is making sure they’re being paid what they’re worth.  

“Finding skilled staff is really hard right now. We recently passed on a pay rise to our staff,” Nick says. “They work hard and they deserve that extra pay.”

Speak with a small business lending specialist about funding solutions to take your business into summer strong.

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