Down by the beautiful Lake Macquarie at Warner’s Bay, you’ll find the lovely, and busy, cafe Q&Co. This is the second location for the mother / daughter team Deb & Kendall who started with their first cafe: the letter Q at Kotara. For our case study today, I have a chat with Deb about what makes their business tick…

Q&Co always seems busy, was it like that from day one?

Yes, from day one we have been very busy. We credit our early success at the Warners Bay site to marketing and cross promoting our Q brand on social media. Instagram and Facebook in particular have been carefully managed to invite new interest. We have been fortunate to have had the local newspaper approach us as direct result of our social media impact. Several food based bloggers and Instagram pages have also included features on their page.

I notice you put a lot of effort into social media, how has that worked for you?

It is a great marketing tool for us. Particularly Instagram as a visual medium. We are constantly developing new menu or dessert options. We are amazed how quickly we receive a call to action.

It seems like you’re a real part of the local community, did you have any specific strategies to make that happen?

We wanted to be part of the local community. We initially sent emails to local sporting groups, local school committees & corporate entities inviting them to allow us to contribute to planned fund raising activities. We continue to assist local groups with gift vouchers to be used at either of our locations or use towards any of our catering services. When initially gathering data for our business plan, we researched a few different local areas to narrow in on our ideal location. In order to understand our customer, we kept asking questions, studied reports on growth areas and investigated the number of local schools within a radius to identified our ideal location.

What would you say are your key points of difference?

A) Identified a gap in the local market for a large range of hand-made macarons available daily. This success has grown to allow flexibility & creativity in small batch hand made desserts . B) Applying a strong emphasis on providing good service. We carefully select our staff. C) As owners, we are hands on. D) We actively seek out like minded local suppliers.

The team culture seems really positive, how did that come about?

We wait for the right team fit. We also work alongside our team and actively seek their opinion and input.

It’s a great location. How did you know this was the site you were looking for?

Based on customer feedback from our site at Kotara, we knew we needed a larger space to accommodate more cafe tables. We also wanted to offer our style of food in a location near the water. We looked for around a year to find our Warners Bay location, not too far to travel for our large, established customer base.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get to this point?

Patience. As well as selecting the right team and allowing them to do their job.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

- Know who your customer is and understand what they want. - Create a realistic budget. - Have contingency money aside. about-us-kendall qandco_cafe qandco_cafe2 qandco_cafe3 qandco_cafe4 ________________________________________________________________ Take a look at the great work going on over at their website:, on Facebook: and Instagram: For help on starting a new business or improving an existing business, drop us an email at or call (02) 4962 4222. _______________________________________________________________________ The cafe case study series is about learning and finding inspiration from the small business success of cafes & espresso bars. _______________________________________________________________________