Tuesday 29 July 2014

Cuca turns one...

In August 2012 I started this blog with a post titled "DREAM" and with the hope of sharing with anyone who found me in the world wide web the ups and downs of our little adventure: opening Cuca, our restaurant. We had no idea back then if we were going to manage to actually open (so many businesses die before they even start!) or if we were going to miraculously attract any customers. Or even if our guests were going to like at all what we could offer…

If you have followed our journey, you are part of Cuca’s family already, but for those of you who just found out about us and are lazy to read all previous posts, I summarize them: after years in Singapore working way too much in separate jobs, Kevin (a Canadian) and I (a Spaniard) decided it was time to work even harder but together towards a common goal. We had the vision of building a restaurant where amazing food were affordable and served in a casual environment. The concept was simple: tapas, cocktails and desserts made with local ingredients and cooked in a western style.

We chose Bali because we believed an international clientele was our best bet and we jumped at the opportunity to star this adventure. We spent the first few weeks in the island settling in: finding a home, transport, learning the roads. We then started writing down all our ideas and trying to come out with a priority list, what to do first. And finally we hit the road and started looking for the people who could help us, one by one. Although we faced many more challenges than we could have thought of, every day we went to bed having ticked off one more task. There were many days when I felt disheartened and just wanted to give up and Kevin then promised me that everything would be ok. There were other days when Kevin felt frustrated and didn’t know how to move forward and it was then my turn to come up with a plan. Thankfully, we had each other. Cuca would not be here otherwise, although it has not been easy. If you want to test your marriage, go ahead and open a restaurant :)

On July 23rd 2013 Cuca opened its doors. Adrenaline and coffee saved most of our days back then. The challenge was no longer the building but its people: 60 employees from all over Indonesia, each with a different background and a unique set of beliefs and expectations. They only had in common the same enchanting smile that convinced us to hire them and although we have been greatly disappointed by some of those smiles, new ones have come to our rescue and every day make us better.

With $0 advertising investment since we opened, we have been relying exclusively on our product and your word for it. The first few weeks were scary and an empty Cuca is still a recurring nightmare in our short slept nights, but word of mouth is all the magic we needed. Even though and despite being quite busy most of the time, we still stand on our entrance welcoming new and returning guests as if each of you were our first. How could we take for granted the blessing of having all of you?

Well, Cuca is now turning 1 and this first year is being a roller coaster of events and emotions. Any regular day is loaded with tons of crisis, laughs, tears, surprises, encounters and goodbyes. We know this is only the beginning and that consistency is a critical test in the long term. We know we cannot lower our guard because a restaurant is as good as its last meal, but we also now know that Cuca´s miracle is possible and this is much more than we knew 2 years ago!

We dedicate Cuca’s anniversary, our little miracle, to each of you:

- to those of you who believed in us more than we believed in ourselves and to those who didn’t and pushed us to prove you wrong;
- to those who gave us ideas and helped us in thousand different ways and to those who refused to give us a hand and thus made us find an even better way;
- to those who broke our heart because we are not what you were looking for and to those who mercifully mended it by totally getting what we are;
- to those who can see we have put our life into this restaurant and encourage and congratulate us and to those who only see the faults and eagerly point at what we should do better;

We try to learn as much as we can from all of you while remaining true to ourselves.

Thank you for this year and let’s toast to many more to come!