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23 Nov 2020

capers cafe + store - employer of the year finalist

WRITTEN ON 23 November 2020

Gregg and Susan are grateful to stand alongside their management team with this recognition of their commitment to their team of 43 employees. Their employees are more than just staff, they are part of the Capers Whanau, with each one holding value and importance in the Cafe – from the Food Preparation Kitchen and In House Kitchen to the Front of House Team.


Part of Gregg and Susan’s ongoing commitment to the well-being of their staff is the Wellness Fund they have in place. Each team member is entitled to a grant to help their own personal development. Whether they choose to use it for Gym Membership, Driving Lessons, Sports Club Membership or other avenues to ensure that all four sides of each individuals Hauroa are supported - their Whanau, Tinana, Hinengaro and Wairua.

Part of the commitment to Te Taha Hinegaro, Mental and Emotional Well-Being, the team also have access to Counselling at no charge. Choosing who they’d like to receive counselling from to ensure they feel comfortable at all times through their visits to obtain the best possible outcomes for them.

With Lockdown Gregg and Susan’s primary focus, alongside the Management Team was to do everything they possibly could to keep all of their staff employed and supported. During this time they also provided more employment opportunities to members of our community once the Cafe was able to re-open in Level 3 and Level 2. They also ensured that they were vigilant of the Government COVID 19 Guidelines, to ensure that they were protecting their staff and their families, as well as the greater community. Although this was a costly move with only being able to accommodate half of their normal customer numbers – it meant that the Capers Team were as safe as possible from community transmission.

During Lockdown the Capers Management Team along with Gregg and Susan held daily Zoom meetings. The ever-changing landscape that COVID 19 was painting, meant the team had to pivot and adapt over this period to ensure they could retain all their staff. During Lockdown they started supplying Food Boxes of Fresh Produce and Ready-Made Meals to ensure that those at greatest risk in our community were able to be nourished with quality, nutritious meals without leaving home. As well as offering online ordering for Coffee and Cafe Food in Level 3. The Zoom meetings provided valuable contact and communication amongst management, which was then passed on to the other team members – to ensure they were kept up to date with plans moving forward.

Back to a new normal in Level One saw the team receiving bonus’ when targets are met, meeting the pre-Covid guidelines. These targets are based both financial and also customer service reviews, meaning the team is part of the success makeup of the Cafe and are committed to delivering a Capers Experience to every customer.

While working their shifts, the team are also entitled to a free meal, helping staff keep their wages in their pocket instead of having to purchase food for their meal breaks, using that money to support their families along with other local businesses.

Although Gregg and Susan of Capers Cafe + Store didn’t take away the Employer of the Year Award, they are privileged to sit amongst fellow nominees – Ranolf Pharmacy, Tamaki Maori Village and Matai Restaurant and congratulate Watchdog Security on their win.

The Capers Cafe + Store Team acknowledge Gregg and Susan’s ongoing commitment to being Employer of the Year beyond the award ceremony and know they are part of an incredible workplace here in Rotorua.