Richie at Cafe Society

Louise McHattie: Coffee Winner on the Day

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13 September 2016

Après ski or celebrity-spotting, grab an Emporio coffee at Café Society in Queenstown, one of our newest café clients. Open since December last year, owner Louise McHattie reports that New Zealander of the Year, Richie McCaw is a big fan and was a regular in the opening weeks. We asked Louise what, apart from famous customers, has been central to success …

You actually own three cafes: Café Society, Nichols in Cromwell and a Mega café in Dunedin. How do you and your husband, business partner Alan McHattie, juggle it all?
Running three cafes and having a baby in the mix (baby Hazel also arrived this year!) is busy but we enjoy it, and when you enjoy something you just make it work. Alan has been doing the café admin/HR from home for the last two years, so that makes it so much easier. Prior to Hazel’s arrival, I worked four days at Nichols before managing the three-month set-up for Cafe Society (we made sure my shifts could be worked by all staff so I could focus on the new cafe when I needed to).  We also employed a manager at Nichols and had the team trained about six months prior to Café Society opening.  The Mega café is managed out. That’s not to say we don’t still get calls from staff after hours though!

You’ve been in the cafe industry for eighteen years. How did you start out?
In Western Australia with a small beach side café. We then bought a delicatessen in Wanaka that we turned into a cafe called Ritual. A move to Dunedin followed where we created The Good Oil Cafe before opening a cafe inside Dunedin’s Mitre 10 Mega. We managed that out while still running The Good Oil. That time taught us a great deal!  We then moved to Cromwell and opened Nichols Café and launched Café Society this year in Frankton, Queenstown.

What makes the difference when it comes to coffee?
So many factors go into a great coffee but great beans are number one.  Emporio is all about quality; great flavour and consistency.

Most popular dish at Café Society?
Bacon and eggs benny.......sounds a bit boring but you can’t beat it. Our pork belly comes in at second place.

We’re hearing a lot about the Queenstown in the media right now, and how it could be on a similar path as Aspen.  How do you think the future looks for Queenstown?
It looks fantastic! It won’t stop growing from what we can see, fastest growing inland city in New Zealand and showcases what we have to offer the world. (Read about some of the issues Queenstown faces in a recent Gareth Morgan blog)

Favourite cafés when you are in Wellington?
I love going to Prefab and Loretta. And I never miss having a coffee with Miriam and Eric at Emporio’s Espresso Bar.

What do you think of Emporio’s new look?
I love it, it’s refreshing to see.  I particularly like the orange, Crown Lynn-inspired takeout cups.

Richie McCaw ONZ is pictured at Café Society with Aneri, former Emporio employee and now resident mainlander.