Phew. What a year! It’s hard to believe what can happen in twelve months. We are still pinching ourselves following some big leaps of faith. Simultaneously we are cautiously looking into 2017 as our gut tells us it’s going to be a tough one. Bring it on!
2016 kicked off with an incredible trip to New York. Sohani and I felt we were the last people on earth to see NYC and the expectation was high. That expectation was met, and exceeded. It was filled with sensory inspiration, special times with family and friends and we came home refreshed and full of ideas and new dreams. You can read more about our trip in our Summer Blog here.
Looking back on the year that is almost done, there are a few standout moments – a personal highlight, a huge professional goal achieved, an important time of reflection and one consistent challenge that has hovered around through it all.
Personally, I enjoyed a true bucket list moment when I was invited to talk a group of students in the Marketing Faculty at Sydney University. What an honour and what a pinch yourself moment for a French man who didn’t go to school! You can read more about my day in the lecture theatre in our Autumn Blog.
For Bitton, the biggest achievement has been the opening of our second café, Bitton Oatley in May this year. At the time we wrote about the importance of the first 100 days of business, you can Winter Blog.
On reflection, that 100 days is up but we are only just feeling that we are stepping out of the teething process, albeit tentatively! It’s been a challenging market – Oatley is a beautiful suburb filled with people who know what they want, who have lived and travelled and who are also fiercely protective of their community. We realised early on that the expectation wass high and that we needed to deliver. Being such a vastly different market, we have also had to look beyond what we have been doing in Alexandria for over 16 years – it’s harder than you think! For those who have been patient and stuck with us, we are extremely grateful and thank you. We promise that things are only going to get better.
With even more competition opening up in Alexandria over the Summer holidays, our business is going to be pushed again to keep reinventing, keep relevant, while sticking to what makes us unique. With a growing number of staff, perhaps our biggest challenge and on reflection, is managing staff. In our Spring Blog we talked about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. We have spent a lot time this year trying to manage our staff more effectively and at a healthy distance.
In November we reflected on a year since our beautiful friend and brother, Gaby passed. Every milestone we pass, every challenge we overcome and every achievement we celebrate is for him and we miss him more and more every day. Wish you were hear Gabs.
So what will 2017 bring? We have a calendar of events, some regular and some new for both cafes. We will have pop-ups such as a French patisserie and baguette bar as well as a month long ‘around the world’ dinner series where we will bring in some exceptionally talented home cooks to make their traditional food for you to enjoy at Bitton. We will take you to Champagne and Burgundy for a night by creating an incredible degustation with matching wines.
We will give wannabe food bloggers the chance to shine with instagram competitions and prizes for fabulously creative reviews. You will want to spend lazy Sundays in our courtyard listening to the live jazz we will bring you and Oatley, we will be intoducing you to our favourite night of the year – Dinner and live Opera on Valentine’s Day.
David will host a series of Masterclasses to refresh your cooking skills while you enjoy a delicious casual lunch out. Our story will be told in a must watch TV feature and there just may be another book launch on the cards – watch this space. More on that later.
We look forward to bringing you all of this as well as different options for holding your functions at Bitton, new seasonal menus, more extensive wine lists and menu specials.
As always we like to thank you, our customers at this time of year. We simply could not do without your support and friendship and we are extremely grateful, especially to those who have stuck by us as we have taken the massive leap into a second café. To have been in this industry for now more than 16 years in truly extraordinary and we don't take it for granted.
Wishing you all a wonderful, happy and safe Summer holiday – make sure you come in and see us!
David, Sohani & The Bitton Team