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Good times at Good Thanks Café in Kwinana

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If you’re a parent, you know that a day at the aquatic centre is a guaranteed hit for the whole family. It's not just a fun way to get some exercise and bond without the distractions of screens; it's also a safe and supervised environment which caters to everyone from the little ones to the oldies. Best of all, it’s an all-weather option and can be enjoyed year-round in rain, hail or shine. And when there’s a good café on site, even better! You can leave the packed lunches at home with the sunscreen.

Towards the end of the school holidays, when I was running out of ideas on ways to entertain the kids, we decided to explore beyond our usual go-to spots. That's when we set our sights on the Kwinana Recquatic, a modern, family-friendly facility boasting an impressive range of amenities, including an indoor ten-lane 25m lap pool, leisure pool, hydrotherapy pool, spa and steam room – not to mention a cutting-edge gym and sports stadium. Stepping into the lobby with its glass-domed ceiling, the kids’ faces lit up at the sight of the sparkling pools. My eyes, on the other hand, lit up when I saw the Good Thanks café.

Good Thanks cafe

In July of last year, the City of Kwinana appointed Good Sammy to take over the café at the Kwinana Recquatic with their new hospitality enterprise, Good Thanks. Good Thanks offers locals with a disability an inclusive space to learn and refine their café industry skills, while also offering visitors to the centre a great range of tasty treats.

While Good Sammy participants can receive hospitality training at the Canning Vale Head Office, Good Thanks marks their first move into the broader community.

Participants receive hands-on training in a real customer setting and learn skills like how to prepare and handle food, operate the till, maintain cleanliness, interact with customers and of course, make coffee.

Ben Taylor, Good Sammy’s Hospitality Manager, brings a wealth of experience to the table with 16 years in the hospitality industry, including running his own café. He’s taught Good Sammy participants all the tricks on how to make the perfect cup of coffee and it’s certainly paid off.

Ben making coffee

The coffee at Good Thanks is seriously top notch. I went for my usual, a long mac topped up, but their menu caters to all preferences, from your regular flat whites and cappuccinos to specialty drinks like chai lattes, matcha and baby chinos. Plus, they have a variety of milk options for all your dietary needs. And if you’re in the mood for something chilled, their selection of beverages includes juices, milkshakes, soft drinks and iced lattes.

But it's not just quality barista-made coffee you can expect to receive at Good Thanks. Their menu boasts a range of delicious food options, including freshly made sandwiches, toasties, and croissants, along with refreshing fruit salads and an assortment of baked goods like muffins, scrolls, cookies, slices, and tarts.

Mel, the Hospitality Supervisor who also has many years of industry experience, makes all the sandwiches and baked goods fresh daily and she sure knows what she’s doing; everything she makes is delicious. Whether you're in the mood for a quick bite or a satisfying treat, Good Thanks has something to satisfy every craving and yes, they also have hot chips. I have so many fond memories of eating hot chips at the local pool as a kid. I had to order a serving for my two – and I couldn’t resist getting gravy on top. They gave it a big thumbs up.

Good Thanks employee Mel making sandwiches

Our food was brought to our table by Mary, one of eight dedicated employees with disability at Good Thanks Kwinana. Previously, Mary worked at the Good Sammy Mandurah store, but found retail wasn’t her thing. It’s clear she’s found her calling in hospitality – she’s all about learning the ropes of food and drink preparation, chatting with customers and making sure orders are spot on.

Mary had a big smile on her face as she asked us about our day. She was the epitome of service with a smile. According to Ben, that’s what Good Thanks is all about: creating meaningful and rewarding employment opportunities for people with disability that align with their interests and goals.

Mary on the till

“We tailor roles to each staff member, so we can best assist them in achieving their goals,” Ben explains. “I’ve seen firsthand how working in hospitality has helped our team members come out of their shells, and this has been really great to see.”

Good Thanks isn’t just about serving great coffee and food – it’s about reshaping people’s perceptions around disability and actively integrating people of all abilities in shared community settings. Ben says the response to Good Thanks Kwinana has been incredibly supportive so far. With Good Sammy planning on opening more Good Thanks cafes in the not-too-distant future, there is now a waiting list of people with and without disability who want to work in these hospitality venues.

I look forward to seeing where the next Good Thanks cafes pop up. If the coffee promises to be as good as the coffee at Good Thanks Kwinana, I’m there!

So, next time you're searching for a family-friendly outing, why not venture to the Kwinana Recquatic? Spend the day enjoying the pools and then treat yourselves to a barista-made coffee and tasty snack at Good Thanks café. It's the ideal way to wrap up a day of fun, all while supporting a meaningful cause.

Good Thanks Café is located in the Kwinana Recquatic, on the corner or Skerne Street and Robbos Way, Kwinana.

Article Author
Kate Taylor - Guest Blogger
Article Publish Date
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