SORTED: Dingles Cafe Bar co-owners Sue and Carol Dingle are helping their young staff members through this tough time.
SORTED: Dingles Cafe Bar co-owners Sue and Carol Dingle are helping their young staff members through this tough time.

CQ cafe’s unique solution to keep staff working

IN LIGHT of Australia’s recent economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, a beloved Central Queensland cafe is determined to see its employees cared for.

Co-founders of Dingles Cafe Bar Sue Patterson and Carol Dingle have found themselves in a position which so many employers have not – a means to provide alternate employment to their cafe staff.

Mrs Patterson and her husband Peter own a cattle farm three hours from Rockhampton.

It is on the property that six young team members from the cafe will roll up their sleeves and for many, experience farm work for the first time in their life.

“They’re really keen. We take it seriously, the welfare of our staff so we’re just so pleased that we are able to do this and keep them employed, but just in other roles,” she said.

“It’s not about the money for us, we just want to keep our guys employed so when things are back to normal, we can jump straight back in with our staff and be ready to go.

Ms Dingle said the team would also be documenting their time out on the property to share online with the establishment’s supporters.

On Monday, the sister duo also announced Dingles would remain open for the foreseeable future amid the COVID-19 pandemic – but with a few changes.

“We’re just following the regulation with social distancing. Then we had to adapt and modify our menu to make it takeaway friendly, and it’s been received really well.”

“It’s been challenging of course, but we always have humour in what we’re doing. It gets us through. Our ­customers have been wonderful. We want to keep our doors open for them.”

One of the things Ms Dingle noticed, she said, was the generous spirit of the Rockhampton community.

“The people that come here every day and have a coffee, sometimes they’re quite isolated already, they’ve just been so friendly and supportive of our decision. It’s a way to still give something small back to our community,” she said.

Just three staff will remain on-site at the cafe, Ms Dingle, head chef Anthony Driscoll and coffee connoisseur Jimmy Chang.

“We’ll just do our best with what we can, I’ll be here and so will the boys. Its one of our main things – people like to see familiar faces to brighten their day,” she said.

Customers are urged to phone ahead on 4922 3576 to place their order. Kerbside pick up is also available.



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