Fresh fuel, and never too cool

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014
Goodness Gracious cafe and bagelry
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
'UNPRETENTIOUS': Greg Cornes of Goodness Gracious cafe and bagelry.

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Goodness Gracious cafe and bagelry is focused on providing an "unpretentious space" and good service for customers over the condescending attitudes of staff in establishments that are sometimes "too cool".

Greg Cornes opened the doors to his New York-style cafe and bagel house in Auckland a month ago and has been "overwhelmed" by the positive customer reaction.

Cornes says the garage-sized cafe had between 140 and 250 customers a day - numbers he did not expect to be doing in the first four weeks.

The reception is "overwhelming but nice", he says.

The popularity of bagels in New Zealand might one day die out but the cafe has a back catalogue of recipes to keep customers interested, Cornes says.

"It's a matter of keeping things fresh."

Why did you start your own business?

When I was 19 years old I had my first introduction to working in hospitality and I realised running a business like a cafe, restaurant or bar was something I could see myself doing.

What have been the biggest obstacles in starting up your business?

In short, both capital and timing. I invested in property for financial leverage but it took seven years for the market to grow enough for the property to raise sufficient capital to get started.

Name one thing you've learned in your business journey so far and from who?

There are three local businessmen I have met and learnt from. The one consistent theme they have all presented is making sure they acknowledge and respect good staff. I do not know anyone who has succeeded on their own.

What are your business and personal goals?

My business goal is to operate a respected hospitality operation, known for doing things simply and doing them well. I want to provide an unpretentious space and focus on attention to detail, attention to service, good food, great coffee and a value-for-money experience. My personal goal is to grow with the business and push my experience further.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with people who support you and believe in you.

What have you sacrificed to be an entrepreneur?

Time. I have worked six to seven days a week for the best part of 13 years, immersing myself in the industry. I have sacrificed time I could have spent with family and friends.

What would you do if you weren't running your own business?

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I love the idea of being a stay-at-home dad.

What do you do in your downtime?

Downtime? When I have some I will let you know!

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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