Ross Patch is the owner of the award-winning café Daily Ritual. Mr Patch has had great business success, recently winning the 2017 Armidale Business Chamber, Excellence in Business Award as well as success at the 2017 Golden Leaf Awards. The Armidale Business Chamber sat down recently with Mr Patch for a chat.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the Armidale region?
‘Well I’ve left and comeback a couple of times, I did school here and then left again, but I’ve been back now for 20 years. I initially worked in Hotels and then carpet cleaning for a while then for Berkeley Challenge within the region and then supplying cleaning products as well. So I have never been too far away from the region for too long and now I’m just home again.’
From such a diverse business background, how is it you found your way back to Armidale and into a coffee house no less?
‘Well I had an accident where a ladder collapsed and unfortunately had 2 years off work. While I was travelling to Sydney for procedures I saw the original T2, the tea company, back when it was just two ladies and a lot of tea. I thought that this niche offering would be really attractive in Armidale and I wanted to bring it back to the region. I started a corner-store across the road from the Grand Hotel with some coffee beans and a 12 month plan, then I won a coffee roasting award and the 12 month plan transformed into a 10 year plan. I was growing pretty quick and so I moved into the CBD. From there I’ve grown and now we have over 30 awards for our tea and coffee.’
It is evident that you have a passion and a love for the roasted bean and the loose leaf, as seen by your award-winning coffee and tea! But how do you translate this love and passion for what you do into the business side of things?
‘I believe that the business side of things will grow and take shape if you put the care and effort into your products and into your staff. Customers want to buy our tea or coffee because we believe in our tea and coffee. In order to continue to grow the business I also invest in staff through training. Over 8 years we’ve trained 16 staff, whether that was in hospitality training or retail training or other. And, our staff are becoming qualified and experienced at the same time. I believe that an investment in your staff is an investment in the business.’
How have you established a regular customer base, and how do you feel you are able to maintain these regulars?
‘Our customers want to come back to us because we get them involved in our processes. When creating new tea blends or coffee roasts I have given samples to my customers, and told them to take them away, taste test and give me feedback on what they like or don’t like. This has also been a great way to build relationships with those that come into our shop. We ask our customers what they want and what they like, we don’t tell them what they should like and then try and sell it to them. Then we talk to our customers, we converse and get to know them because they are valued and they should know this.’
Having won the 2017 Armidale Business Chamber, Excellence in Business and the 2016 Excellence in Accessibility Awards, what do you think the importance is of being an active member of the community and a member of the Armidale Business Chamber?
‘Involvement in the Armidale Business Chamber is simply invaluable. I remember attending a seminar hosted by the Chamber on wages and rights of employees in the workplace and it was very helpful, making sure that my staff were being looked after properly. The Business Chamber connects those who specialise in one area with those who specialise in another. Working together with other members, is more efficient and beneficial to all. I believe in using people that are good at what they do and the Chamber connects those who are good at what they do, with others who are good at what they do, so we can all benefit from each other.’
What does the future hold for Ross Patch and the Daily Ritual?
‘We are also working on a New England tea collection with distinct flavours and titles from our area. To accompany this we are developing new packaging that pays homage to the New England region, and putting these distinctly New England teas into hotels, and visitor centres around the area to help develop the region. And maybe in the distant future a second shop in Maitland might be the go.’