Know Where You Are Going

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Know Where You Are Going

My mate Keith and I just did a three-day trip through the mountains. On the way we checked out every bakery, from Yackandandah to Mount Beauty, Omeo, Orbost, Cann River, Mallacoota, Eden, Merimbula, Nimmitabel, Tallangatta, etc.

In some of the towns we visited, there are no bakeries left. They’re gone.

But we had a terrific trip. We visited a few of the huts on the high plains. I love the Cope Hut, just up above Falls Creek. Well worth seeing.

The drive from there to Benambra is great, and from there it’s a fantastic drive through the Alpine National Park to Suggan Buggan. Then we visited the famous McKillops Bridge, which spans the Snowy River. Fair bit of history there on that. Then on to Buchan for the night. Most people think you have to travel big distances to go to the outback, but this is right on our doorstep and it’s real remote country. Real outback. I love the Snowy River National Park.

From Buchan, then on to Orbost, then onto the coast. We visited Bemm River – it has a pub and a caravan park. Then we visited Point Hicks, which I love. They have a fantastic campground. If you’re into camping, check out Point Hicks; it’s unique. Then on to Mallacoota and Cann River. Mallacoota is worth the detour off the main road: terrific caravan park right on the water.

We stayed the second night at beautiful Eden. Keith went into the first motel we saw – they all had vacancies – and they just ignored him. He was the only person there! He wasn’t happy. Then they asked him what he wanted. I mean, obviously we were there for a room! But Keith got the shits and said, “We don’t want nothing!” and walked out. Keith can’t stand bad service. The next motel was great, thank God. I thought I might be sleeping in the car.

The next day we went and checked out Merimbula. It’s a boom town. We next visited Nimmitabel, where years ago I knew the owner of the
bakery. He wanted his bakery to be famous, so he purchased this life-sized elephant from Bali made out of solid cement. But it was an African elephant: huge! Weighed many tonnes. It sure made the news. He had to have a heavy loader bring it down from Sydney. It was in all the papers. They put it next to the bakery.

That owner is long gone. The elephant is looking very sad and unloved. Well, the whole show was looking a bit unloved, and we didn’t get good service there either. The bakery sure doesn’t look too famous to me.

From there we went up through Kosciuszko National Park and visited more towns and more bakeries. We had a fantastic few days visiting little towns like Tintaldra, Cudgewa and Omeo. We visited every bakery we saw. Some of these bakeries are going well. In others you can see the decay.

We in the bakery business need to see our business through our customers’ eyes. We need to walk through the front door to be a customer in our own shops. That is, if you want to be a customer-focused business. We must work on the business as well as in it. I do love the bakery business; it’s sad to see that we’re letting everyone else take our business.

It doesn’t have to be that way: always make customer service one of your top goals as a business. People with goals know where they’re going.