In his signature glasses, he shouts greetings to his regular customers. Refusing to call himself an artist, he says simply, what we do here "is make real food - What I've done all my life is, I just do things for myself. If it's not quite what I want, I figure out how I get what I want." Establishing the caf was a "cynical move to be authentic," he admits.This rolls over into how he hires and pays his staff. The Waterloo regional government has discussed paying its employees a "living wage," which it estimates at around $15 an hour, almost double the minimum wage in Ontario, the pay most restaurant employees receive. [John Bergen] pays his staffa "living wage," figuring that he wants them to want to work for him. He wants staff who know what they are doing and can work independently of his guidance.An unexpected benefit of doing his business the way he does is the development of community, both for himself and for his customers. City Caf and Bakery, he says, has become "a meeting place" for "the exchange of ideas . . . like an Irish pub."
24 Canadian Mennonite March 16, 2009 God at work in Us No cash register, no loss City Café and Bakery finds profit in self-service Story and Photos by Dave Ro gal sk y eastern canada correspondent kitcheNer, oNt. I ts windows invitingly steamed up on a cold winter day, City Café and Bakery still looks like the automobile garage it greetings to his regular custom- ers. Refusing to call himself an artist, he says simply, what we do once was. Attached to a Chinese restaurant here “is make real food. . . . What at the corner of West Avenue and Victoria I’ve done all my life is, I just do St. South, the café is the playground of John things for myself. If it’s not quite Bergen of Rockway Mennonite Church, what I want, I figure out how I Kitchener. get what I want.” Establishing After finishing a career as a commercial the café was a “cynical move to ceramic artist nine years ago, he was look- be authentic,” he admits. Young City Café and Bakery customer Cam ing for a creative and financial outlet. A This rolls over into how he McTavish pays for his lunch on the honour system. niche café with a wood-burning oven, fresh breads, artisan pizzas and “the best tarts in the K-W area,” the project fit his artistic ‘Pay minimum wage, you get minimum employees. i and entrepreneurial spirit. want my employees to have a secure place to work.’ In his signature glasses, he shouts (John Bergen) hires and pays his staff. The Waterloo old Toronto Trolley cash box sits by the regional government has discussed pay- counter where customers can deposit their ing its employees a “living wage,” which it payment. “At the end of most days we’re estimates at around $15 an hour, almost ahead,” he says. People are in a hurry, so double the minimum wage in Ontario, the they don’t wait around to make change and pay most restaurant employees receive. over
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