When only a handful of cafes are trusted to serve a special coffee blend from Gabriel Coffee, and one team has set up four of those cafes, you know you’re in good hands.
Josh Edwards and Jack Doolan’s latest cafe Calibrate Coffee Manly is aptly named after the aforementioned coffee blend itself. We recently visited Calibrate to learn more about how the duo have curated a unique experience for their guests and grown their business with Square.
The Beaches experience
With both Josh and Jack living by the Beaches themselves, it only made sense for their latest venture to be on their doorstep.
“The Beaches is a really nice area, a nice lifestyle, very relaxed,” says Josh. “I think it works well with the kind of business that we want to build, which is coming in for a nice brunch or breakfast, or just takeaway coffee.”
The pair wanted to curate an experience where their guests (not customers) could have a positive experience and leave smiling, where they could feel that sense of community.
“Good coffee and good food is an expectation these days, most businesses will offer that,” says Josh. “But that something extra – this might be the high point of someone’s day, and we want them to feel that.”
We saw it in action – the service is on point and the team knows almost all the folks who walk in. But a big part of the experience is of course the space itself. What was once a poorly maintained empty room, is now a light, bright, inviting space that the pair spent hundreds of hours getting right. And they’re proud of it.
“Humbly, as soon as someone says ‘this space is so nice,’ I enjoy it,” says Jack. “Because Josh and I were here ‘til like 11 p.m. painting and like doing touch-ups for weeks before we opened. So as soon as someone says something nice about it, it does go a long way.”
An unlikely duo
When you see Josh and Jack, you’d think they’ve always been two peas in a pod, but in Josh’s words, “It wasn’t love at first sight.”
Jack started at the busy cafe Josh was already working at, but it was a tough work culture.
“If something went wrong, that was on you. It was a real sink-or-swim business. And I put Jack through his paces, and to Jack’s credit, Jack came in and started swimming pretty quickly,” says Josh.
Soon after, Josh was about to open up a new venue and hit up Jack to join the team, and Jack, instead of going to the mines for work, agreed.
“So I just moved cafes and then Josh and I obviously worked together for another year or so, and then we went into business together the following year,” says Jack, and the pair have been inseparable ever since.
“Just relying on someone to have your back,” says Josh. “That’s definitely how we became friends – there was a real mutual trust, respect and reliability there that once you have with someone you just can’t replicate. I think it’s actually probably one of the easiest relationships that I’ve had in my life.”
“It’s like one of the only ones,” laughs Jack.
No POS training required
“The look goes a long way. It looks so clean but also very professional as well,” says Jack.
But more than just the look, the pair have found the POS easy to use, and better yet, easy to get their team across. At their other venue, an absent team member who is usually on the POS creates a bit of a stressful ordeal, but at Calibrate Coffee Manly? “I don’t think I’ve shown one team member how to use it, so I haven’t thought about that much which is so nice,” says Jack.
The pair have their cafe’s floor plan laid out in their POS, which means they can take orders at the table and quickly ring up that bill when the time comes.
“The reason that we’re in business together is because we are on the same wavelength in so many ways, and it’s easy to work with each other,” says Josh. “And I think that’s probably why I like Square, is that it is intuitive, it’s easy to use and I don’t have to worry about anything else. I can just have it there and focus on what we do best.”
We’ve been calibrated
Whilst the pair have their sights set on another site at the Beaches, we couldn’t help but try some of their best menu items.
“Get a Cauliflower Toastie,” says Josh. “That’s my absolute favourite. Beyond that coffee. All the filter Coffee’s special. But I have to say, in my heart, a little three-quarter flat white is just the best.”
Filled, beaming, caffeinated, and content is how we left, with newly calibrated expectations for a cafe experience.