What do you want? Coffs business out to make lives easier
A BROKEN shoulder has led The Happy Frog owner Kim Towner to consider a new range of services for Coffs residents who may want food delivered for a variety of reasons.
Kim said being incapacitated, unable to drive or even chop food for eight weeks without pain, had been a real eye-opener for her, and made her think about all the other people who, whether through age, injury, disability or just for convenience, may need a helping hand with food.
She has prepared a survey to find out exactly what seniors and others may want from the café and grocery store, with its focus on ethical, fresh, local vegetarian offerings and catering for special dietary needs.
Questions include whether you would use a delivery service, and if so how often, your budget and whether you are interested in pre-prepared food or fresh produce, including bread, cheese, fruit and veg.
"I'm just looking at how we can help make people's lives a little easier," Kim said.
As part of her thinking, Kim has also begun a range of 'Happy' prepared sauces, the first being Happy Coconut Curry in-a-jar.
"It's like a really delicious dahl and everyone's loved it," Kim said, adding that already customers had chosen to use it both as a soup and as a meal, with some adding spinach, mixed vegetables or tofu (and yes, some even adding meat).
At $15 for a jar it makes about eight large serves, and is suitable for freezing, but Kim said a smaller jar is on the way for couples or those living alone.
Also in progress are minestrone and Mexican varieties.
The café already sells a selection of curries, soups and Mexican beans by the litre ($14) on top of its café takeaway offerings, including pies, patties, salads and lasagne, the latter sometimes being confused for a meat lasagne because of its thick, rich, tasty sauce.
"Ladies often come in to buy some to take home for dinner and say 'I don't know if he'll eat it,' and I say, just don't tell them it's vegetarian," Kim laughed.
She recalled a tradie who had been doing some work in the café and enjoyed the lasagne three or four times before someone mentioned that the café was vegetarian, and he couldn't believe that what he had eaten wasn't meat-based.
"But I think Seniors' eating habits are changing and they are more adventurous than they were say 20 years ago," Kim said, amused at the idea that at over 55 she could herself be considered a Senior.
"Two things are happening: firstly Seniors are getting younger in their mindset, and secondly they have a broader tastebud, having grown up in an era when we have a real melting pot of cultures and tastes.
"And I think we are all getting more health conscious too.
"All these things mean more people are prepared to have a go and break out of their habits and discover new, exciting tastes."
If you would like to take part in the survey, or let The Happy Frog know any other ideas you may have, pop into the store at 16 Park Ave, Coffs Harbour, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
THE Happy Frog is very sustainability conscious:
. They use solar energy.
. Spare food goes to REAP for redistribution.
. Waste and scrap food goes to feed dogs, chooks, rabbits, guinea pigs and worms at the community gardens.
. The 'free useful things' trolley out the front of the store lets residents collect potato sacks, big tins, buckets and other re-usable items for home projects.
. Catering is delivered on a bike.
. Boxes and bags are re-used and the café's own packaging is recyclable and generally compostable.
. They wash and clean with natural cleaning products.