Coffee the way you like it, with a side of diversity and inclusivity

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Bundaberg’s Deli Café special leaves a good taste in everyone’s mouth!

For as long as it’s been around, Queensland’s city of Bundaberg has been all about the people.

Despite being the tenth largest city in Australia, its small-town attitude with a focus on community is one that permeates through every street and business it has to offer.

One business, in particular, is taking this philosophy every step of the way. The Deli Café is a humble yet successful café local to the Bundaberg area. Rain, hail, or shine, you can always count on The Deli to provide some good food, coffee the way you like it, and a friendly chat from morning till afternoon tea.

But it’s not just their menu and locally sourced ingredients that set them apart from the rest. Managers Hayley and Ashton want their café to be a sanctuary for employees and customers alike, and they resolved to use their business to help those who weren’t getting a fair shake at employment.

The Deli Cafe. Interior, chalk board with logo and green nature themed backdrop.
Deli Cafe boasts an impressive menu served hot and ready with side of good chats.

Hayley and Ashton are both well aware of the societal hurdles in the way of people with disability when it comes to employment. They want The Deli to be an opportunity for them to “shine and gain experience in their lives.”

“We wanted to give them that opportunity to not be hidden away at the back. Let them have a place they feel supported and welcomed. And giving them that experience to go on to bigger and better things,” Hayley explained.

Confidence is often the largest hurdle for everyone when it comes to job searching. It can be difficult to try and determine your own worth and convince someone else you’re employable. Having that success of your first job under your belt makes a world of difference, and that’s exactly the support that Hayley and Ashton are looking to provide.

When asked about any reservations the couple had harboured about employing people with disability, they each responded with an emphatic, “No!”

“Not at all. That’s what we’re about, we’re here for them to gain that experience.”

Hayley went on to remark on just how easy it had been to partner with EPIC Assist in finding eligible employees.

EPIC Assist (EPIC) is a local Disability Employment Services (DES) provider that connects job-ready people with disability with supportive and inclusive workplaces.

“We had this lovely lady come down from EPIC. She introduced herself and brought down some candidates. From there we did some trials and we put a few people in, and away we went!

“EPIC have always had such an important role in supporting the participants they bring down. If there are any issues they’re here to help. And that’s what we love about EPIC. They support us just as much as our participants,” she continued.

EPIC puts its best efforts towards supporting employers. By doing so, employers can give better support towards their employees, allowing them to work harder and do a better job supporting the business they’re employed by. It’s a self-sustaining cycle of support!

And when it comes to support, Ashton and Hayley have plenty to offer. When asked about how much it meant to them to promote diversity and inclusivity, they responded by proudly sharing they want to be “the business that sets job interview appointments when others would turn them away.”

“It’s about giving that safety net, a safe place to be, you know? To know that they can come here and not be judged.

“They’re going to be welcomed and get the assistance they need to better themselves. We’re a stepping stone for them to move on to bigger and better things.

“Between the two of us, we’ve got a chef background and a disability background. So, being able to bring that together has been great.”

With the assistance of EPIC, The Deli has employed several hard-working staff who can’t say enough about how happy they are in their positions and work environment.

Each employee that walks through The Deli’s door has a unique and individualised story. For Gabrielle, new to the Bundaberg region after moving recently with her partner, stability was an immediate goal.

Her passion had always been hospitality because of how connected she wants to be to the community. She wanted to work for a business and around people that understood the value of a “good meal and a good conversation.” The Deli proved to be the perfect fit.

Gabrielle behind the counter, under the counter is the wide selection of The Deli's food menu.
Gabrielle posted up front of house, serving coffees and satisfying customers.

“My favourite part is the community. I love my customers and that’s always been a big part of my life. And I do have great bosses,” explained Gabrielle.

Nathan is a passionate photographer with strong interests in computers. He works back of house at Hayley and Ashton’s newest expansion to The Deli Café – The Deli Airport Café, and has gained some recent experience in coffee making and running the till.

For Nathan, The Deli has provided the opportunity to engage in several situations that are completely new to him, something he appreciates when it comes to his personal development.

“Work gives me a routine and good stability in life. The people that I work with are all lovely and understanding. And I’ve never had a problem with anyone I’ve worked with at The Deli,” said Nathan.

Caleb works back of house at Deli Café. He’s training as a chef, has some impressive knife skills in the kitchen, and has a Certificate III in Retail. But for him, the biggest difference this opportunity has offered is a chance to improve his soft skills – something he will take with him even outside the workplace.

“Working here has got my communication to go up a bit. And I really like the cooking,” said Caleb.

All three employees warmly recommended joining EPIC, remarking the not-for-profit provider has great comradery. “You’ll get the help you need to be able to enter a job or any sort of opportunity that you’re really gunning for,” Nathan warmly recommended.

Seeing their employees thrive in the workplace and become passionate about employment is all that Hayley and Ashton have ever wanted.

With several success stories under its belt, The Deli will continue being one of Bundaberg’s hardest working and most successful businesses when it comes to disability inclusion. This mission of Hayley and Ashton’s has blossomed into a support cycle that benefits everyone involved.

“They will give 110%. And you can rely on them, you just must have the patience and understanding and train them the right way – and they will be yours forever,” said Hayley.

If you’re thinking of hiring a person with disability, start the conversation with us today by phoning 13 EPIC (3742) or sending us a message.

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