JUST five days after taking over Woodland’s Café Kate and Allan Wilson were burgled on the weekend.
“It was our first Sunday and traditionally our busiest day, apparently. We were feeling all charged up and excited, and wanted to get the prep started because it’s all fresh food. Just before 8am our head chef went into the well-padlocked chiller and realised someone had taken a crowbar to it and smashed it,” Kate told Number 8 Network.
Only food was taken in the burglary – “It was mushrooms, bacon, eggs, milk and tomatoes. It was as if someone wanted to have a big breakfast.”
The couple believe the thieves made their move between the gates being shut at 1am and 7.30am.
“They must have climbed over the gate, walked down the very long drive and they then loaded up two loads of groceries on the children’s trollies, which was left near the gate. That to me is just appalling.”
While the value of the stolen food wasn’t high enough to meet their insurance excess it was, she says, needed for their first Sunday in the new business.
“It was our big day, that was the killer. We actually did very well, Allan dashed out and did a fast shop at the supermarket and everyone just piled in, it was a great team effort. The staff were fantastic; every single table was full, I had to bring out more tables that day but we managed to deliver breakfast and lunch.
“It was a huge day – I was out of the picture half the time because I was talking to police, to the insurance, to the forensics person, to the estate people. And Allan, after helping with food preparation, was organising improved security. He’s done a magnificent job.
“I’m not angry. I just got into the mode that we had to move on and power on. The staff were more angry than I was at the sheer audacity of it.”
A post on Facebook generated much sympathy and support. “If customers thought we were a bit slow that day we wanted them to know why. But people have been very supportive, and many have been appalled at what happened. It’s that community thing, and that’s what I’m loving. I’m hearing all these stories; someone said they met my dad the other day and he told them about the café. There are all these connections – I love that.”
Kate was a managing partner at law firm James & Wells and Allan an engineer before taking over the cafe.
“We’re really looking forward to meeting people, the local community, and we have so many ideas for the café. I have a huge To Do list, multiple pages long. Phone police, new lock on chiller, insurance… we’ll get there – onwards and upwards.”
Watch this space for an upcoming profile on new Woodlands Cafe owners Kate and Allan.
- Woodlands Cafe is open seven days from 9am. Visit them on Facebook here.