There is No Place like Dome

Big Business

2 min read

If you’re Western Australian or have spent time in our beautiful Western state, you might be familiar with Dôme – the chain of local cafes often set within incredible heritage buildings. From old council buildings to retired police stations, Dôme’s commitment to local heritage has seen the restoration of many buildings into buzzing community hubs.

Head of Product Development and Marketing David Hahn said Dôme originally started with coffee and cake but has evolved to a café model with the locations and environment lending itself to longer dwell times.

Dôme started in the late eighties when the original owner returned from a back packing tour of Europe, inspired by its coffee houses. She started the first one in Cottesloe and since then it has grown to a network of 56 stores throughout Western Australia.

Here at Dôme it’s all about a sense of place and space, we build nice big cafes where people have time to sit and take a moment out of their busy days. From group gatherings to individuals working on laptops, it’s a long dwell time, and food now makes up a vast majority of our total revenu.

“We work with local suppliers wherever possible, and particularly when it comes to things like meat and smallgoods. Our beef is from Western Australia, some of our jams and chutneys are made by a lady in Fremantle – we really like to foster that sense of community spirit that we are all in this together for a common result,” Hahn said.

The menu has been designed to have various day parts with breakfast making up a large component and more substantial, homestyle, rustic meals available on an all-day basis. Dôme Kitchen Coach Owen Parsons said it’s about designing a menu that keeps people coming back.

“We pride ourselves on making sure we give value, abundance, and flavour above anything else. That’s our ethos around the menu, wholesome, homely, and substantial – meals people keep coming back for,” Parsons said.

The Dome Steak Sandwich demonstrates the group’s drive to ensure these customer commitments are met and the group invested a lot of time to get it right – with 56 venues, consistency plays a huge role.

“Previously we were using topside for the steak sandwich and were struggling with inconsistencies in size and cooking methods to get it right. We started going down the sous-vide path because we wanted to make it uniform across the business and provide a consistently good product to our clientele.”

“We started off using a sous-vide scotch fillet and as much as it is a brilliant cut of meat, we were having some issues with portion size and consistency – plus beef prices at the time also meant it was becoming an expensive product,” Parsons said.

After reaching out to Meat & Livestock Australia’s corporate chef Sam Burke for advice, a solution was found in the form of the rost biff – a cut from the rump primal.

“The steak we are currently using is the rost biff, it’s a brilliant cut with great flavour. We use a local WA product that comes in already sous-vide from our local supplier making it a lot easier on our kitchens and ensuring we get a really high standard product across all our cafes.”

“Quite a bit of work went into finding a solution and it’s really paid off. We now have an absolutely beautiful product that we use across all our cafes, we get far more consistency and it’s really hitting the spec for us. It has lifted sales of the steak sandwich a lot, and it’s now one of our highest sellers and at the top of its category,” Parsons said.