Wednesday 27 February 2013

"Sniff Sniff"

We are now working hard on our marketing plan and apart from coming up with strategies to get Cuca known, we are also looking at developing a strong and consistent overall brand experience.

It is not a secret that we use all five of our senses to make a buying decision, whether consciously or unconsciously and thus a complete brand experience must tackle each of them: what the customer sees, hears, feels, smells and touches. Today we are sharing with you our dedication to our guests’ nose…
You may have noticed that when walking in a cinema the smell of popcorn awakens your taste buds or that the aroma of coffee makes you crave for one. But it is not only the smell of food that makes you hungry… A 2006 study found that customers who ate at a restaurant that used the scent of lavender generally stayed 15 minutes longer and spent 20% more.

Reflecting on this underused sense in marketing, we decided to develop a scent that captures the essence of Cuca. We are looking for something casual but still sophisticated, uplifting, that pulls you out of your worries and into Cuca’s mood to taste and enjoy. Something you notice when you walk in, that you will remember when you walk out and that comforts you while you are with us.

We won’t release Cuca signature aroma yet. It is still in our head and in the hands of our aroma guru.

Friday 22 February 2013

Lacking Noah's ark...

Back in December we were so immersed in all the planning for Cuca that we hardly realized that the weather in Bali was gradually changing. Summer had been amazing; the cold wind from Australia’s winter brought perfect temperatures and the driest months of the year. The raining season started gently in November but by mid-December was unstoppable. One of those first rainy mornings we happened to pass by the restaurant site and were shocked by the horror scene: our beloved garden lounge to-be was flooded and this was only the beginning of the monsoon season!!!

Frantic calls and emails followed: we had to address this problem before starting construction!!!! During the next few days we found out that the situation was even more critical. Bali infrastructure leaves much to be desired and there isn’t a proper system to get rid of any excess water even if we managed to collect it within our land. We had to come up with a clever solution and our contractor was the only person we knew who understands about pipes, water and geology. This is his master plan, right now being implemented:

The idea is to let the rain water infiltrate easily into the soil to reach the “water table” (natural water level in the soil) instead of just running-off on the surface that is what creates puddling and floods on the garden.

To facilitate this, infiltration wells are dug by removing the soil within. A “geotextile layer” is then applied to filter the water and prevent the sand from going through into the well together with the rain water, what would cause landslides.

The well is then filled with rock piles kept in place with a steel string cage. The rocks let the water go through to reach the “water table” and are covered with stones and soil to grow back the grass.

This system is supposed to be highly effective but have limitations in case of extreme rainfall as it would not work when the water tables are full and the water has no place to go…

Anyway and as you can guess, our contractor is now our hero. He has rescued Cuca from the floods and we will be forever grateful.

Wells being dug in our garden

Infiltration well

Rocks to fill the wells

Wednesday 20 February 2013

A meeting of the minds

Kevin is desperate for jumping into a professional kitchen and all of us around him can feel (and suffer) his urge to get going, so we all decided to prioritize the kitchen. The idea is that although construction will be still in progress at the dining room area, Kevin will be able to start cooking.

The meeting you see in this photos is between the contractors and the kitchen designers and suppliers. We had to review every detail of the drawings made by the designers to make sure the contractors understood it and found it feasible. We also had to identify potential conflicts between the structure of the building and Kevin’s dream kitchen.

It was really interesting for us to see how engineers analyze drawings and what issues are critical when approving final designs: gas pipes, gutters, air ducts, electricity outlets... Our kitchen is especially tricky because apart from being open and thus very visible, we came out with the idea of playing with different elevations and that turned out to be very difficult to implement. You need to understand and coordinate multiple heights: the kitchen equipment, the cooks, the bar counter, the stools, the customers… A headache that we hope will be worth it when you see the end result.  

Despite the several complex issues derived from design, the team managed to find the way around them and make sure our original ideas were respected when planning for their implementation. What a relief!