Food Buds is not your average noodle bar. Owned by Marisa Bonucci, it’s a meeting place, a lunch joint and a healthy alternative to other quick-service offerings in the local Bathurst area. We spoke with Manager Pat Watanaprug about how Food Buds is keeping customers happy with its unique offering, and how Cafeideas helped pull it all together.

The challenge
To create a healthy noodle bar with appropriate décor to suit the foods on offer and the kinds of customers that would frequent the business.

How Cafeideas helped
Pat explains that by far, the biggest benefit of having Cafeideas on board was the fact that they could get advice, equipment and furnishings, all from the one supplier. She says they did originally look around at approximately five other suppliers but found that it was easier to deal only with Cafeideas. “The staff are very nice at Cafeideas, they help us a lot,” Pat says. “We discuss our requirements and they give us solutions.”

Offering takeaway and dine-in, Food Buds offers seating for thirty customers. Given the diversity of the cuisines available – Thai, Japanese and Korean – it was important that the décor would reflect the Asian influence, but also be comfortable for the local people. Pat tells us they already had pretty firm ideas on how they would want the shop to look. “Marisa really enjoyed being able to look around at the colour ranges, the leg style and height of the tables and chairs. We felt Cafeideas had lots of different variety to choose from.”

It was also necessary to put in place some help-yourself fridges so that customers could select their favourite drink and be ready to quickly pay for their order and run out the door to continue with their busy day.

Cafeideas supplied benches, under-bench fridges, display cabinets, tables, chairs, the cooker and deep fryers. Pat says that the choices made were not always dependant on price and that some elements were more or less costly according to the specific requirements. “Vibha would explain that something might be cheaper but that it will last as long as we need it to and then left it to Marisa to make the final decision.”

Not being her first shop, Marisa had plenty of knowledge to draw upon but found it invaluable to have a supplier who could help nail down the final solutions. “They were never pushy but they always helped with advice and product. We particularly loved that we could send them an email and by the next day we’d have a list of product suggestions by return email from Cafeideas. They’re really good at keeping up good communication about stock availability. And we were always able to deal with the same person at Cafeideas.

Asked if they would use Cafeideas again in any future business, Pat was emphatic: “Of course, they really made everything so easy and we appreciated their customer service.”

About Food Buds
Food Buds offers fresh Japanese, Thai and Korean noodles of various types including egg, udon and hokkien. They even have a special sweet potato noodle from Korea that is Paleo-appropriate, something that is becoming more and more in demand. Along with the noodles – or rice, if they prefer – customers can select the sauce and the meat they’d like and their dish is prepared before their very eyes. Some choose stir fried vegetables, others go right to the fresh salad bar and make up their lunch or dinner with their favourite ingredients.

Food Buds is about healthy options and accommodating customer requirements. They have gluten free noodles, sauces and salads as well as items that are safe for those with nut allergies. There are also superfoods such as the increasingly popular quinoa, and all ingredients are shown in full view for customers’ interest and peace of mind. Fresh juices are made to order.

The business’s weekday customers are busy professionals who work in the surrounding offices and stores, who come in looking for a healthy, quick and delicious meal. Some rush in and rush right out again whereas others stay and eat or even meet clients or associates at Food Buds to discuss business.

For those looking for something a little less virtuous, there are tasty burgers, fish and chips on offer so there is a selection to suit a variety of tastes.

Open from 10.30am to 8pm Tuesday to Saturday, the coffee machine keeps the place humming all day long. Food Buds is seriously good food for the busy, the famished and those whose dietary challenges narrow their choices. And with plenty of care and consideration in the menu, everybody can be happy at Food Buds!

Posted in Customer Of The Month By
Julia Gouye