Days, weeks, months, and years of planning led up to our official opening day on the 1st of September, 2015. We couldn’t wait to finally start dishing out some slow food, real fast, but before our doors opened for trading at 8:00AM on the dot that Tuesday morning, there was some major planning underway.
First of all, we had to make sure that the team was prepped to feed people right. We started with several rounds of staff training to make sure that they knew the menu inside and out, and how to dish out our slow food, real fast for time-pressed workers.
A couple of days before we opened, we spread the word by, basically, giving away some food. We kept it pretty low key at first, simply telling passers-by about what we were doing here and inviting them in for a meal to get their feedback. This way, the staff could get used to serving up the highly customisable bowls we have here at Grain Traders, and to prepare them for the lunch crowd that we hoped would follow. It also allowed us to hear from everyone who tried the food and get their feedback before we opened.
The first day was slow and easy, but across the days after that, word had somehow spread and soon there was a line of people queuing round the block — it was unexpected, but a happy surprise. As diners streamed in, we introduced them to the menu and the concept, getting suggestions and comments on the ground that would help us in fine-tuning Grain Traders. Service flowed quickly, and hungry diners were soon tucking into our signature bowls or picking ingredients to build their own. We were extremely humbled by the turnout, and it gave us a much-needed boost of confidence in what we were doing.
The Friday before our opening, we invited some of our friends, family, and people who had been with us right from the beginning down for a final tasting. It was as much a chance to get feedback from some of the people who mattered most to us, as it was an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come.
Then came the day that we had all been working towards. We opened our doors for trading bright and early, starting with breakfast. Customers started trickling in, but it was nothing compared to the mad lunch time rush that we were hoping for, but had hardly expected. We were soon packed out, with queues forming out the door, and people patiently waiting in line to get their fix.
We had an incredible first day of service, finally being able to share what we’ve been so excited and passionate about with everyone. It was an unimaginably humbling and rewarding experience to see so many people who dropped by to get to know what Grain Traders is all about, and, at long last, to finally see our vision of feeding people right coming to life.
We’ve come a long way, and we’ve still got a long way to go — this is only the beginning. Thank you to everyone who came down and got a taste of what it means for us to feed people right, and we hope to see you back at Grain Traders very soon.