New Kube Cafe owner Diane Santos needed the specialised skill set of an experienced team of technicians who could quickly identify and fix her refrigeration problems … which is why she chose Big Bear for the job.
“When we bought the business in early 2017, we didn’t realise the refrigeration and freezer equipment hadn’t been maintained. There were many issues we weren’t made aware of … but as new business owners we had to deal with.”
The transition from high school teacher to cafe owner and business person was always going to challenging. But these were challenges Dianne Santos was looking forward to.
Buying the cafe in February 2017 was a fresh start.
It was the first cafe they had purchased, and it was a massive change – and a very steep learning curve.
“It’s been great – but it has had its challenges – the biggest being the repair jobs we had to do early on. The business was in disarray, and we didn’t realise how bad the equipment was until things started to disintegrate.”
It seems obvious, but refrigeration really is everything to a cafe. And Dianne had six pieces of commercial refrigeration equipment: a cool room, four under bench fridges/salad bars and a freezer.
Almost from the moment the business was in her hands, the equipment started to fail.
“We had no idea … I felt like I was hoodwinked and taken advantage of. We had major, major problems. Not just wear and tear.”
So Dianne did what anyone would do in her position. She researched and found a commercial refrigeration mechanic…
…who couldn’t do the job. So she found another one, who charged her a fortune … and couldn’t do the job.
After cycling through three technicians who charged a fortune, but were unable to fix the problems, Dianne finally found Jason Tink, from Big Bear Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.
He was a referral from a family friend.
“He was like my saviour.”
“Jason had to come and fix up the mess. He didn’t promise me anything, but he said, ‘This is what I’ve got, this is the equipment I can use, and I can find your problem. I have the equipment and the resources.’
And he was right.
“He quickly identified the problems. There was a major gas leak that the other technicians couldn’t locate.”
Because Big Bear uses industry best diagnostic equipment, Jason was able to identify where the leaks were – and more importantly, fix the problems!
“We also had major problems with the evaporator unit – Jason diagnosed the problem, moved the unit which was initially hard to access, and we haven’t had another issue.
More importantly, Jason explained what he was doing, what the repercussions were, what it would cost and how long it would take … so I understood from a layperson’s view. It gave me great confidence.”
“The previous owner didn’t maintain any of the equipment – the upkeep was very poor.”
The equipment at Kube Cafe is serviced, checked and maintained every six – 12 months now, and Jason has taught Diane to look for warning signs of any issues that may arise, before they become bigger, more expensive problems.
It’s a proactive approach that keeps Dianne and her team ahead of any issues that may arise, and one that keeps her compliant with relevant health and safety regulations.
Diane found out recently that Jason had contacted the previous technicians with some questions.
“He made contact with them to understand what they’d done, and why.”
As part of Jason’s process, he has installed alarms on all systems, so that staff are alerted when the temperature rises.
It’s not just for Health and Safety compliance, it’s to set Diane’s mind at ease, so she can get back to doing what she does best – running her successful cafe and catering business.
“I didn’t need to replace every single piece of equipment, and I didn’t need to spend a small fortune on it. Jason has saved me a lot of money by using preventative measures and identifying and understanding what the problems were.”
“There are a lot of people out there who say they can … but they can’t. And it ends up costing time and money.
Jason really helped me out … and is continuing to help me out. It’s a good feeling.”