Frenchman Patrick Dumas has found his nirvana, owning and running Succulent Cafe in glorious Byron Bay. The location is idyllic of course but it can also be a hindrance when the time comes to shop for products that are not readily available in the local area. When shopping online for chairs for the cafe, he came across the Cafeideas site as well as websites of other suppliers but found that Cafeideas was “the best one in terms of product information, price and choice”.

The challenge
When outfitting Succulent Cafe’s al fresco dining area, Patrick was determined to find chairs in a particular colour but seemed to encounter a lot of black, red, white and silver. What he was looking for was a subdued green along the lines of avocado or olive. Being located in Byron Bay, it was important also to deal with a company that could be relied upon as an online-based supplier. After all, Patrick wasn’t about to jump on a plane or drive for hours to visit a showroom. The practical considerations of researching and purchasing online were a major deciding factor when choosing Cafeideas.

Problems they had experienced
“We needed to accommodate a certain budget,” Patrick explains. “Of course we wanted quality but we needed to make sure we got the right product at the right price. We feel we achieved this with our Cafeideas purchases.”

Patrick was initially concerned that without being able to touch and feel the products in person, to identify the quality and durability, he might be left with chairs that wouldn’t be suitable. “You gamble a little bit when you buy online. You can’t really see the true colours sometimes.”

Additionally, the fee to deliver the order was higher than expected. This was offset however by the competitive pricing of the goods he ultimately ordered, and Patrick was also happy that everything was packaged sufficiently so that no products arrived damaged.

How Cafeideas helped
The large selection of cafe and restaurant chairs on the Cafeideas website gave Patrick the opportunity to consider a range of options. He was impressed that each product listing was supported by multiple images taken from various angles, clear specifications and even photos of the colour swatches. The ‘compare’ function made it easy to decide between Patrick’s shortlisted items.

“All the information I needed to choose what I wanted was available. It wasn’t necessary to spend time calling Cafeideas or going back and forth. I could see that the chairs were stackable which was very important for my needs and I could see that I could get the right colour that I had in mind. The only thing I couldn’t do was touch the product.”

Follow-up, communication and problem management
Patrick reports that one of the chairs broke roughly seven months after purchase. He was asked to provide a photo of the damaged chair and within a week, the replacement was delivered. “I was very happy with that,” Patrick says. “Nothing has been difficult at all in dealing with Cafeideas. Whatever they promise, you know you’re going to get it. There are no bad surprises. I would definitely recommend Cafeideas to others without any hesitation. They make it a top priority to look after their clients.”

To date, Cafeideas has supplied Succulent Cafe with more than two orders of furniture and Patrick plans to continue purchasing from the company.

From Cafeideas, Succulent Cafe purchased all their chairs: the Maya chair and the Parker chair.

About Succulent Cafe
Patrick and his wife Maree took over the ownership of Succulent Cafe in 2010 and have enjoyed adding their own touches to what is offered there. “We have a really loyal customer base,” Patrick says.

“We have a few customers who are literally here every single day for breakfast. They don’t even have to order anymore; we just know what they want. Others are not from Byron Bay but they make a point of coming to Succulent Cafe every time they’re in town, sometimes every day.”

With an emphasis on fresh food made daily using top quality ingredients – organic where possible – the cafe churns out gourmet muffins (“loaded with fruit or chocolate chips”, Patrick insists), cakes, friands and cookies, all made on the premises. Opening at 7am for breakfast, there are always eggs on the menu as well as house-made bircher muesli, organic sourdough fruit toast and homemade pancakes. Toby’s Estate coffee is the brand chosen for its consistency and quality.

Lunch options include open sandwiches, salads and mixed plates of delicious ingredients such as smoked salmon, house-made tapenade, grilled free range chicken, grilled haloumi, Bangalow ham and grilled field mushrooms.

Patrick says flexibility is a top priority. “We don’t assume every customer likes every dish the same way. We are always happy to accommodate what they want whether it’s fat free, well done, vegetarian, vegan, cooked in butter or without added salt. Everything we do is fresh, ‘a la minute’. At the end of the day, we want the customer to be happy.”

Having trained as a chef, it’s initially a little surprising that Patrick doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen. Instead, he prefers to be out the front, serving customers and making sure they enjoy their visit. He has spent many years in charge of Food & Beverage in luxury hotels in Singapore and China and feels at home talking with people and learning about them.

Succulent Cafe is something of a home away from home for a number of celebrities including interstate authors and singers. A bit of discreet celebrity-spotting happens from time to time however Patrick is keen to withhold the names of his publicly-known customers. “After all, I want them to come back!” he smiles.

Open 7 days a week from 7am to 2pm, Succulent Cafe seats 65, including indoor and al fresco dining.