Riba Kai owners Kylie Pizzirani and Brett Fawcett say strong focus on customer service has helped them grow a loyal customer base that will get them through this tough time. Photo: Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Riba Kai owners Kylie Pizzirani and Brett Fawcett say strong focus on customer service has helped them grow a loyal customer base that will get them through this tough time. Photo: Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Why hospitality industry will come back ‘stronger than ever’

AFTER a “lifetime” in the local hospitality industry, Riba Kai is staying strong and encouraging residents to support their local cafe during the coronavirus crisis.

The Maroochydore restaurant was last week voted the best Sunshine Coast business still serving takeaways out of 41 venues.

Co-owner Brett Fawcett said it was a humbling achievement as “one of the many little guys out there who are giving it their all during this really tough time”.

“We’ve been on the Coast since 2002, which is a lifetime in our local hospitality industry,” he said.

“We’ve had many highs during that time, but have also been dealt some really low blows, particularly the GFC in 2008 and now COVID-19.”

Like hundreds of businesses, Riba Kai have adapted its dine-in venue to a takeaway restaurant, literally changing the way it operates overnight.

“The industry has taken a big hit and the ripple effects are huge,” Mr Fawcett said.

“In particular, it was really hard for us to say goodbye, for now, to some of our staff who were more like family here.”

He said along with business partner Kylie Pizzirani and their staff, they had always worked hard on the “little things” such as remembering names and orders.

That extra bit of customer service has helped Riba Kai grow a strong customer base, which was evident in the Daily’s Best of the Sunshine Coast competition.

“Hospitality plays a big part of everyone’s day-to-day lives, so naturally customer service was already a strong focus for us,” Mr Fawcett said.

“We all want somewhere to go and be made to feel special, and that’s been highlighted even more so as social distancing currently forces us all apart.

“I’m confident the industry here on the Coast will bounce back quickly and stronger than ever.”

Riba Kai is located in The Concept at Newspaper Place, Maroochydore. For more, visit their Facebook page.

10 BEST CAFES STILL SERVING TAKEAWAYS

  1. Riba Kai
  2. Cock and Hen
  3. John Kyle Espresso
  4. The Caf Coolum
  5. High Tide Bar, Grill and Cafe
  6. GURU Life
  7. Bean There Done That Espresso
  8. La Maison Du Patissier
  9. Glass – Coffee House and Wine Bar
  10. Nurcha