We are among the growing tribe of retired, low-budget retirees for whom a visit to a good café is a major treat. Typically we try the coffee on our first visit and, if expectations are met, we'll return for something more. So it is with Kara. On our first visit the coffee was superb, 5 star... among the best we have found among the many we have tried. Lovely people too. Today we took the next step and ordered a date scone and blueberry muffin with our coffees. They looked promising. Major disappointment. The muffin, upon the application of supplied knife, crumbled into many dry pieces. It was impossible even to find a piece big enough to apply butter too. The scone was slightly better, but suffered from the same dryness. We left them, almost uneaten. Which leads to what I think is an important discussion. Far too often, in our experience in different cafés, the food from the cabinet or counter is not fresh. Sometimes it is still cold from the refrigerator where it has been kept overnight. Sometimes it defies belief that it left the oven less than 48 hours ago. Sometimes microwaving has added an element of toughness which is hard to be grateful for. (In this respect we recently found a café in Matakana which refuses to use microwaves, asking customers to wait for real heating in real ovens. Nice!) One has great sympathy for the café owner. "Should I throw out the unsold food for today and make nothing, or put it out tomorrow because some of it might get sold and I will not lose all my investment?" It is true that binned food is a total loss. But so is a lost customer. We will return to Kara because of the coffee and it is just such a nice little place. But we will not buy food there unless we can be sure that it is good value for our meagre dollars. I like making suggestions. :) So, my suggestion to any café owner who may be reading this is as follows. 1. Make it explicit as to how fresh your food is. e.g."Fresh 6am this morning". "Fresh yesterday morning". (We sometimes ask but it is stressful and embarrassing as we get the feeling that such questions are not really wanted. We should not have to ask.) 2. Discount the less fresh food. e.g. "Fresh yesterday 50% off". In that way it will probably return enough to meet the costs in making it or buying it in. Customers will appreciate your transparency. 3. Get some informed opinions on your food. Maybe, from time to time, offer some trusted customers a free sample in return for an honest opinion. 4. Offer a cheerful money-back guarantee for food considered by the customer to be inedible, and make that offer explicit in some way before the purchase is made. If food is then returned you have at least gained good feedback and probably you have retained that customer's patronage. These suggestions are the culmination of visits to many cafés, not just Kara, of course. There is a very popular restaurant in West Auckland whose food experience on two consecutive visits has effectively put it off our list. We hope that the list of "really good places to go" continues to grow.
Really, really good food!! Recently left a lot cafes with the feeling of “nothing special” but we left this one, with the complete opposite feeling! We ordered the Morning Taco, criscut fries and the Avo-mame on toast. I think the next time we go, we’ll have trouble deciding ordering something new or getting the same. Definitely be returning!
Bright and welcoming interior matched by breezy service. Good flight coffee and delicious eggs bene. A great choice in Milford. Looking forward to returning.