Construction starts on Gladstone's new Hog's Breath
THE smell of char-grilled steak is in the air with construction of Gladstone's long-awaited Hog's Breath cafe getting underway on Thursday.
Owner Alex Staines was excited and relieved to finally start work on the cafe after years of delays.
"To have guys in there making loud noises and bangs is music to my ears," he said.
Getting the cafe established has been a hard slog, with a number of hurdles to get over.
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It was set to open at Kirkwood before potential construction delays forced a move to the current site, in the former Retravision building on the corner of Goondoon and Herbert Sts.
The cafe was initially expected to open next month, but Mr Staines said he had decided to take the time to make sure everything was done right.
Construction is expected to take six to eight weeks, with the opening date in mid to late March.
The work is being overseen by the Hog's Breath franchise's preferred principal contractor, and Mr Staines said he was trying to use as many local contractors as possible.
Recruitment for the management team will begin in February.
Mr Staines said anyone wanting to be part of the management team should start getting their resumes up to speed, with recruitment details to be released shortly.
"We'll be recruiting for the rest of the team at the end of February or beginning of March," he said.
"What we'll probably do is a cattle call where we announce the date and location, and people can come along with their CV and go through the process.
"We're aiming to build a sense of camaraderie and community in our team, and I'd love to see groups of friends coming in after school for interviews."
Despite the challenges faced by some businesses in finding suitable staff, Mr Staines didn't expect to have any recruitment problems.
"We've been overwhelmed by the amount of support so far," he said.
"Because of the Hog's Breath brand, people want to be a part of that. The brand has a bit of attitude and a whole lot of energy, and people are attracted to that.
"Unfortunately I'm expecting to have to say no to some people."
Mr Staines has moved to dampen down expectations of the cafe's first few weeks of operation, with a soft opening meaning there will only be about 80 seats available each night before business ramps up to seat 200.
"I don't want to put the new team in their roles, fling open the doors and seat as many people as possible," Mr Staines said.
"If we do fling open the doors, the team will be in over their heads and customers and staff might have a bad experience.
"We expect to be booked out," he said.
"I know this will disappoint some people who won't be able to get in when they want to.
"But we want to make sure the people who do get in the doors will have a wonderful experience, and the staff have a great experience and stay with us for a long time."
Mr Staines is keen to make the local Hog's Breath Gladstone's own, with the business set to feature local memorabilia including the old Gladstone Civic Cinema sign.
"Our mission statement is to create memories. We want people to walk out and years later still be talking about the birthday dinner they had here," he said.
"We want families to be out with their nanna and nanna is talking about her experiences going to the old cinema.
"If we can add to the quality of the lifestyle in Gladstone and have a venue people can call their own, that's really important."
Do you plan to eat at Hog's Breath when it opens in Gladstone?
This poll ended on 14 February 2014.
Absolutely. I've been waiting a long time for this
I'll definitely check it out and see if I like it
I'll probably go every now and then
I'm not really interested
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.