The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Care Connect Coach & Contribute provides winning formula for Pukekohe cafe

Care Connect Coach & Contribute provides winning formula for Pukekohe cafe

The manager of Columbus Coffee inside Mitre 10 Mega Pukekohe, Monique Porter, has been awarded Employer of the Year, Excellence in Community Contribution Winner, and Supreme Winner at the Pukekohe Business Excellence Awards 2023.

Porter’s outstanding people practices and culture have been recognised as a key factor in Columbus Coffee’s success at the awards night, hosted by the Pukekohe Business Association.

“I’m not speechless often but right now I am. This is a huge honour,” says Monique Porter.

Porter has expanded the café and catering business to offer job opportunities with various skill sets and flexible rostering to provide young people, mothers, and individuals with different abilities or restricted availability, a chance to enter employment. One of her current team members who has a learning disability had applied to 42 other job vacancies before finding employment at Columbus Coffee.

Supporting and appreciating staff upskilling, well-being and achievements is central to the franchisee’s business strategy.

“A happy, appreciated team member will be the key to success for any business,” Monique says.

Columbus Coffee inside Mitre 10 Mega Pukekohe offers regular staff awards and team building activities, ensures staff utilise their full allocated break times, rosters staff no more than 40 hours per week, maintains a staff care box with health and hygiene products, offers medical benefits, staff discounts, and complimentary food and beverages every shift.

Judge and HR specialist, Lara Hellier, Director of People Passion, was impressed at how deeply Porter and the management team care for and uplift their team at every opportunity.

“The Columbus Coffee Teams’ success is based on their day-to-day guide to Care, Connect, Coach, Contribute and Congratulate. They find creative ways to succeed, and they have certainly done that this evening,” says Hellier.

When some of the younger staff had their school balls cancelled two years in a row due to Covid, Monique Porter hired a venue, DJ, photographer and catering for the teen staff members and their friends.

Ongoing educational opportunities for the employees include NZQA-accredited certificates in Food Hygiene, Barista, Cookery and Table Service courses as well as NZ First Aid Certificates. Often promoting from within and providing opportunities to learn new skills, employees are encouraged to have input in business planning and goals, events and their many charity initiatives.

From sponsoring youth organisations, fundraising and gift drives to supporting local growers and businesses, donating leftover food, and complimentary vouchers, providing discounts and free food and drinks to local emergency services, and educational workshops with local primary schools this team has a far-reaching impact on the community.

The teams’ community initiatives have achieved:

Over 500 Christmas gifts donated in 2022

700 pairs of pyjamas for less fortunate families

Funding school stationery and bags

Free Children’s Day and school holidays activities

Free Christmas photos and Santa visits

Warm hoodies, uniforms, and drink bottles for sports teams

3,000 Player of the Day vouchers per year

Isolation meals sold and delivered at cost

Fundraising and charity events for Cure Kids NZ, Pink Breakfasts, I am Hope, Gumboot Friday, Prostate Cancer, sports teams and locals requiring medical treatments

Columbus Coffee was recognised as Supreme Business of the Year, selected from all the category winners at the awards night hosted by the Pukekohe Business Association on 22 July 2023.

The other category winners for 2023 include Guthrie Bowron (Excellence in Customer Service), Crosbies Security (Excellence in Innovation), Kitchen Inspirations (Excellence in Manufacturing), Bessie S (Excellence in Marketing), Natasha Boustridge Hair (Excellence in Sustainability) and Liquorland Pukekohe (People’s Choice).

Columbus Coffee inside Mitre 10 Mega Pukekohe serves freshly baked goods hand-crafted in-house and coffee using their own special blend of beans roasted fresh each week in the Columbus Coffee Roastery.

Monique Porter has managed the café for 11 years – leading many versions of her team throughout this time.

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