Calling for Entries!
The battle lines have been drawn for the first ever Australian Café of the Year competition, calling for the country’s best bean grinders and egg poachers to throw in a spoonful of creativity, a grande cup of passion and a good splash of competitive spirit.
Currently in its third year in New Zealand, the Café of the Year concept is crossing the ditch to offer Aussie cafés the chance to prove we’re home to the best café culture in the world. It’s set to be a fiercely fought foodie fight, with state vs state, city vs city and hipster vs chic.
Andrew Nalder, Café of the Year spokesperson, said, “The plan for Australian Café of the Year is not for it to be a one-hit wonder. In our maiden year, we want to see what our Aussie neighbours have to offer in this competition of true culinary heart and passion.”
The team behind Australian Café of the Year are calling for big, medium and artisanal players to throw their hat in the ring and compete for the glory of being crowned number one in the country.
Entry is free and easy
Cafés simply need to create a dish using an ingredient each from the Heinz and Don ranges – options include pulled pork, bacon, chipolatas, chorizo, baked beans and a new condiments range. The national winner will take home a Renault Clio RS200 Sport – and more importantly, some serious bragging rights. Seven regional winners will also be chosen to receive $1,000 cash and $1,000 worth of Heinz product. Voters also have the chance to win a share of an $11,000 prize pool, with one main prize of $5,000 and six prizes of $1,000 to be won simply for having their say (one winner will be selected from each of the seven competition regions).
The Café of the Year competition launched in New Zealand in 2012, attracting hundreds of votes and establishing itself as a title to be fought for. Last year, close to 700 cafés entered in hopes of winning the much-sought-after award, and over 46,000 consumer votes were cast.
After an intense campaign, the title of New Zealand Café of the Year was awarded to Mairangi Bay café Paper Moon. The café shot to fame for its Paper Moon Mairangi Bay Bean and Bacon Stack, with café goers queuing throughout the competition to get their taste of the acclaimed competition dish. Two years later, it’s still on the menu and still a hot favourite.
Following the hype created around their win, the owners of Paper Moon opened a second establishment, Black Cottage – which placed a close second in the 2013 competition.
2013 winners Jester House won the top spot with their Spiced Hot Pot creation, delivering a unique dining experience for their customers. Co-owner of Jester House, Steve Richards said, “When we travel, we go to the top rated places to benchmark ourselves against, so I think the award gives customers something to pin their decision on.”
In Australia, our continued obsession with sharing food photos on Instagram – #foodporn #instagood #instafood #foodie #foodgasm – means the number of cafés entered and consumers engaging will be much larger than what we’ve seen so far across the Tasman.
Tech analyst Telsyte found that at the end of 2013 there were two million Australians using Instagram, with 24 million searchable posts for the #foodporn hashtag, making food images one of the most popular posts shared on the social media channel.
Café of the Year is not just for owners and customers; it also allows chefs and cooks to get creative with their menus and dishes. There is no limit to the amount of dishes that can be created and how the mandatory ingredients can be used. One past entry included the beans from Heinz Baked Beanz being broken down and transformed into gnocchi pasta.
The dishes created make up a percentage of the voting criteria, with a panel of expert judges also critiquing the customer service and overall atmosphere of the finalists.
Past entrants have found that their businesses improved simply through their decision to participate in the competition – with staff becoming more attentive and focused, and developing positive habits, which long outlived the conclusion of the competition.
As of June 2nd, Australian cafés will have the chance to be in the running and ramp up their promotional campaigns, with each entrant receiving a full Australian Café of the Year arsenal (posters, wall stickers, table cards, etc.) ready for battle. The competition will be the ultimate test of loyalty and pride for their regulars, as well as the perfect way to attract new clientele and reignite the competitive spirit between their peers.
If you think your café has the ingredients to be named Australian Café of the Year, visit www.cafeoftheyear.com.au to register. Seven regions. Millions of café lovers. One chance to be number one. Don’t miss it!