When Dylan McQueen was preparing to open his first shopfront in South Australia’s popular Mount Gambier region this time last year, he had no idea he would be opening his doors for the first time to patrons spaced 1.5 metres apart while politely asking for card payments. But that’s exactly what happened in April this year, during the peak of the pandemic’s first wave in Australia, after nine months of hard work to get his first brick-and-mortar store into shape.
We caught up with Dylan to find out more about his business story so far, how he’s managed opening up and garnering a customer base during a global health crisis, and (of course) the best scroll flavours.
Tell us a little bit about how ScRoll Queen started.
ScRoll Queen started from my home kitchen around two years ago with $1,000 and my self-taught love of baking. I live in regional South Australia, and despite there being a tonne of good cafes around, I really saw a gap in the market when it came to speciality baked goods. A lot of restaurant and cafe owners have a lot going on within their business, so they’re often time-poor and don’t have the resources to put towards perfecting those extra nice-to-haves.
I have always loved baking, cinnamon scrolls being my favourite, and so I decided to make them from home to sell at farmers markets and wholesale to some of the cafes in my local area. There was huge demand, I ended up baking hundreds of scrolls every weekend and selling out of everything. It didn’t take too long before I decided to quit my day job and take up baking full-time with a shopfront to sell from. Now, we have 5 staff who are making 200 plus scrolls each weekday and up to 800 on weekends.
You opened the shop in April, in the middle of some really challenging times due to COVID-19, did ever think twice about opening?
Absolutely! But after nine long months of preparation, quitting my day job, and a young family to support, I had no choice but to open. I was a little worried that first weekend that people wouldn’t show up but sure enough, they came. The line out front actually looked deceptively long too with the enforced 1.5 metre spacing! It was great to see people still willing to get out and support new local businesses, even during these challenging times.
What are some of the ways you’ve had to adapt your business operations to cater to the new ‘COVID-19’ normal?
South Australia, generally speaking, seemed to get through the first wave of the pandemic fairly unscathed compared to many other parts of the country where business trading has been more heavily impacted. Since the initial restrictions were enforced in April, we have seen a strong return to local ‘business as almost normal’ here, though we have certainly implemented a range of measures to ensure staff and customers feel safe. Aside from enforcing social distancing between customers, we keep gloves and sanitiser at our counter so staff can change gloves and sanitise between each customer if they’re handling money or touching any equipment.
How have you used Square to help run your business?
I’ve been using Square since I first started out two years ago. The card reader was super handy to take payments at farmers markets and with the businesses I would wholesale to. I could also use the app to track how many sales I was doing on specific days and what locations I was at. Since opening the store, we have added a Square Stand on our counter and an additional card reader, which really helps with queue-busting, particularly on weekends when we have a line outside.
I like that Square also integrates with my accounting system, Intuit QuickBooks. This means that all our sales can sync seamlessly between the two apps and I don’t have to worry about re-entering any sales data.
Ok, now for the big question, what is your most popular scroll flavour?
Wow, well we have so many different flavour mixes it’s hard to choose just one! I like the traditional cinnamon scroll but our blueberry cheesecake scroll is a big fan favourite. We do have something to cater for everyone’s tastes though, sweet, savoury, over-the-top — whatever you’re craving, we have something for you.
What is your best advice for other budding business owners?
As business owners, we have the unique privilege of owning our own platform. Through that, you have the ability to make a difference to someone’s day — whether that’s just giving them a smile, making some genuine conversation or going above and beyond with your customer service. Creating a great customer experience for everyone that walks through your doors is not only a smart reputational move for your business, it can also make a positive difference in the world. My best advice is simply to treat others how you want to be treated.