Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Crepe & Cafe

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Customers Come First for New Owner

Crepe Cafe Dunbar 3500 w41stDiljeet Taheem is the proud new owner of Crepe & Café located at the corner of West 41st Avenue and Collingwood Street. He took over the established business last June and is quickly winning over customers.

Originally from Delhi, Diljeet followed his brother to Vancouver in 1990. He holds a Masters degree in Economics in addition to a diploma in Microcomputer Business Applications. He worked at the Vancouver School Board for a number of years and currently owns a design, printing and sign making company called Jasonbel Creations Inc. in addition to operating Crepe & Café.

His passion for cooking began at an early age. Diljeet explains, “I liked to watch my mother preparing food.”

Crepe Cafe Dunbar Diljeet Parminder TaheemDiljeet had been looking to purchase a coffee shop for two years when he discovered Crepe & Café was for sale and felt it was a perfect fit. Diljeet wasn’t looking for a formal dining experience and knew a franchise would not suit him. He was determined to operate an independent business where he could apply his creativity and make the business his own.

Cleanliness is high on this owner’s list of priorities so he started by giving the restaurant a full makeover. All of the counters were replaced and the floor was refinished. Tiffany-style pendant lights hang over counter and a number of chandeliers are mounted throughout the dining area. A black industrial open ceiling is balanced with white walls and artwork. He also replaced all of the furniture. Diljeet smiles when he reports a little boy commented on the comfortable new chairs.

Not being French or having run a restaurant did not deter the new business owner. The former owners trained him. He says, “I learnt from them but I did not stop.” He mentions his chef friends also shared their knowledge. Diljeet took to the challenge in an academic fashion and threw himself into researching French cuisine. He makes frequent references to the importance of technique.

“Cooking techniques are the same around the world with minor variations.” Diljeet Taheem

When it comes to crepes, Diljeet drew from his experience with the dosa, a type of pancake commonly made in southern India, which share similarities.

Crepe Cafe Dunbar interiorHis wife Parminder works alongside him in the kitchen; she prepares the crepes while Diljeet brews coffee and bakes.

Diljeet hasn’t changed the menu but he has improved it. He has added an organic salad to the crepe plate without increasing the price. He says, “I want to make sure my customers receive quality and value.”

On the menu you will find savoury crepes known as galette made with buckwheat flour. A number of fillings are available including eggs with Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese, smoked salmon with organic spinach and Swiss cheese, and chicken with red onion, tomato and Swiss cheese.

Sweet crepes include lemon and sugar, Nutella and banana, sugar with butter and cinnamon, and an assortment of jam fillings. Gluten-free crepes are also offered. Grilled sandwiches and wraps are very popular with the lunchtime crowd, and the fresh baked goods (including almond cookies and croissants) are a perfect accompaniment to enjoy with a variety of organic coffees (latte, cappuccino, espresso, Americano), organic teas (Diljeet says he makes an excellent chai latte), and other hot comfort drinks (hot chocolate and steamed milk).

When Diljeet sets himself a goal he won’t stop until he masters it. For example, he wanted to improve the coffee sold at Crepe & Café. He says, “I used my research skills to learn everything there is to know about coffee.” From using quality beans to the art of grinding, pressing and percolation, he says, “I technically fixed the coffee brewing process and have passed this knowledge on to my staff. The quality has to be there for the price.”

Diljeet strives for a personal experience. He says, “I want it to be like a home.”

Honest opinions are of utmost importance to Diljeet; he makes a point of personally serving new customers and asking how they enjoyed their meal. “My goal is to have them respond with a wow,” Diljeet says. One of his proudest moments to date was when he asked for feedback from a French couple – they were so impressed with their experience they asked Diljeet if he has spent time in France (he hasn’t).

Treating his customers with respect and courtesy comes as second nature to Diljeet. He likes to pull back customer’s chairs and is always happy to assist senior customers by holding the door.

When asked what he is finding most satisfying about operating Crepe & Cafe, Diljeet replies without hesitating, “What I am learning and using in my business. Knowing the café is improving and that people like the changes is very satisfying to me.”

Crepé & Cafe
3500 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3E6
Telephone 604-566-9787

Mac’s Dunbar

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_Farhan_HaiderMac’s: Canada’s Convenience Store Since 1962

Mac’s has been a fixture on Dunbar Street since 1997. The Canadian convenience store franchise got its start in 1962 under the name Mac’s Milk, represented by the mascot “MacIntosh” the grinning cat, who sported a tam o’ shanter hat and kilt.

In 1975 the company underwent a name change to Mac’s Convenience Stores. In 1999 the company was bought by Montreal based Alimentation Couche-Tard and the new logo “Hibou” the winking owl was introduced, welcoming customers at over 850 storefronts across Canada.

Farhan Haider is the proud owner of Dunbar’s Mac’s and like the winking owl, he has a spark with his big, welcoming smile.

He takes pride in serving people and it is a priority to make customers feel happy when they come in the door.

Originally from Lahore, the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Haider holds a Masters degree in business administration and learnt how to run a successful business from his 11-year background in marketing.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_3His new life in Canada began in 2008 when he moved to Canmore, Alberta. While working for another franchise, Shell Canada, he determined he would like to explore this line of work and submitted an application to see what opportunities existed with Mac’s. In 2011 his effort yielded the chance to move to Vancouver to run the Dunbar Street Mac’s.

While product buying is managed centrally by head office, all of the ordering for the Dunbar store is left to Haider. Recently he earned a feather in his cap when headquarters deemed, based on his location’s excellent sales, the Dunbar store would receive a large renovation, which took place this past summer.

New flooring, lighting, a variety of new equipment and a shift in the floor plan transformed Mac’s. Throughout the construction process the business remained open, as Haider did not want to inconvenience his customers.

Today clients have even more selection from the new and upgraded equipment, which offers some of Mac’s mainstay products such as Frosters, Polar Pop, soft ice cream, milkshakes and coffee.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_frosterFlavours have been added to the Polar Pop soda fountain station (with 20 flavours to choose from at an affordable 79 cents each). There are now 12 Frosters’ on tap, and nine flavours of soft ice cream and milkshakes.

Simply Great, a European brand, is the house coffee which is paired with a state of the art machine that can whip up a cappuccino, latte or mochaccino with one touch of a button. Coffee drinkers are responding favourably and there has been a substantial increase in sales.

Open 24 hours a day, year round, the store’s top selling items include Frosters, milk, candy and coffee. Other popular services include an ATM, and the sale of both transit and lottery tickets. Mac’s has recently introduced their own economical brand of spring water, soft drinks, potato chips, nuts and trail mix (look for the owl logo).

He and his wife Saba, who assists with the business, have a young family (two children ages 5 and 7). They enjoy seeing the shop as a family destination and mention children will drop in for a treat while their parents pick up supplies and look at the magazines.

Mac’s clientele is diverse. The morning tends to bring in older clients who pick up a newspaper and coffee. The afternoon sees working people, school kids and families walking through the door, while night owls (including university students) often come in to refuel with snacks and coffee.

Mac’s Roller Grill offers quick snacks for people on the go such as hot dogs, smokies, corn dogs, taquitos, spring rolls, breakfast burritos and chili cheese nachos. If you are looking for a fresh baked good to accompany a beverage the new Bakery to Go case offers muffins, cream cheese strudels, apple turnovers and chocolate chip cookies.

As a 24/7 business Mac’s is a go to store when other businesses are closed. Christmas and New Year’s Day are always exceptionally busy. Traditionally the convenience store offers customers free coffee on these special holidays.

Macs_Dunbar_Life_Palla_Media_extAs a marketing specialist Haider points out that Mac’s is a wonderful place for gift buying. Two racks are loaded with gift cards with something to please everyone on your list including Mac’s gift card (good for students and teachers), Canadian Tire, Cineplex, Facebook, Indigo, iTunes, Old Navy, SportChek, Starbucks, Subway, prepaid credit cards, and a variety of popular game cards.

Haider appreciates the value of marketing tools such as social media and has created a Mac’s at Dunbar Facebook page so customers can interact with their neighbourhood convenience store.

Going the extra mile for his customers is always at the top of Haider’s list. He mentions making home deliveries for a customer who was temporarily unable to leave the home, and he also recollects making a client’s day when she lost her wallet and never thought she would see it again. It’s all in a day’s work for this friendly business owner.

Mac’s
4470 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G5
Telephone 604-736-9528
www.mymacs.ca