How it all began… – A visit at Café Caramel in Berlin-Mitte
Damn you guys, I’m sweating crazy on this hot day! Today Gregor takes me to a date with one of our dearest clients. The amazing Filiz from the Café Caramel at the Zimmerstraße in Berlin-Mitte invited us – one year after we helped her cute café to shine in new splendor. Your four-legged reporter and cutest French Bulldog from Otto von Berlin prepared a little interview for you.
Otto: The renovation of Café Caramel is now more than a year ago. Where do you see the difference to the previous café?
Filiz: In the revenue, haha. Yeah, it’s true – it doubled almost. As we increased the amount of seats. That was the goal we set us before.
Gregor: “Because, in the beginning there were only 20 seats and now we created more than 40. That’s an increase!”
Filiz: “The goal was, that’s why we sat down together with Gregor, that we definitely want to increase the space and usability of the café. The space remained the same, but now we can serve double the people. We’ve achieved this because of this sitting bench, which was just a brilliant idea of Gregor – he did a great job with everything, haha. We took the counter a bit more to the back of the room. Plus it’s bigger and especially more functional now. We were able to plan all together and customized to our needs. That was awesome.”
Otto: After all those changes – how did your regulars react? What was their first impression when they walked back into your upgraded café?
FIliz: “They were already quite curious while the constructors were still in progress. They wanted to have a look and were ‘wowed’ from the beginning to the end. It’s them anyway who we serve the most in this café, so we want to make sure we create something great for them as well. They see every difference made in this room. Some of them I see more often than my own mother, haha! Just overall satisfaction with the outcome.”
Otto: Did you change something after the renovation was finished? Did you include your own touch somewhere?
Filiz:” Just some minor changes. Decoration and other stuff. I’m still working on the pillows, haha. So far I haven’t been able to find some better ones. The inscription outside for example I did myself, and that board in the front. So yeah, some smaller things, but most of it stayed the way Gregor imagined it to be.”
Otto: How was your first feeling, after your first appointment with Otto von Berlin? What kind of expectations did you have?
Filiz: “None – he surprised me positively from the beginning. That sitting bench is still my highlight. I really, really like it! That wasn’t in any of my thoughts back then. We knew we wanted to create more seats, but we had no idea how. When Gregor came up with the idea, I was hooked from the beginning. After our first ‘date’ I thought to myself: ‘hey, that simply works’.”
Otto: If it comes to Interior Design for gastronomies: What is the most essential to you in a room?
Filiz: “I think it all needs to be functional. It can look as pretty as it wants, but if it’s not functional, it’s… well, difficult, haha. Especially for the Lunch hour. It’s a complete different thing, then having a loungy café with cakes and waffles. They are more chilled. But in my kind of business, I need to be quick and it needs to be functional and pragmatic. Otherwise I’m loosing out on money, haha!”
Gregor: “You know, the guest wants to have his food quickly and to be served well. But therefore the spoons, and beverages, and this, and that – it all needs to be in the correct place.”
Otto: So you’d say that the workflow is very important, that everything works like a clockwork. Customized to the needs of your guests.
Filiz: “Exactly! It needs to be all in a flow – I don’t want to be moving that much. I don’t want to have to go for napkins there and forks on the other end. Who wants that? I want to notice and take time for the customer, but at the same time I want to server him fast, as there are more mouths to be fed, haha. He should not feel like in a Fast-Food restaurant, of course not. He will receive his personal service. But still, you can make those processes quicker. That’s what I mean with functionality.”
Otto: Is there a favorite piece of yours in this room?
Filiz: “I really like the drawers, they came out perfectly! That was one of the ideas I liked the most. The soup corner with the cutlery drawer is just amazing. And of course the sitting bench. Oh, and those openings with the copper around I like as well. And those lamps! Well, as you can see it’s hard to chose just one favorite object in here, haha.”
Gregor: “Yeah, we discussed a lot about those lamps, haha. If it was to me fully, I would have hanged something from the ceiling, haha.”
Filiz: “But I didn’t do you that favor, haha. Sorry!”
Otto: You have talked about the copper color. Would you also say, that this is your favorite color in the room?
Filiz: “Well… My personal favorite color is red, haha. But that I was only able to have with that mat down there, haha. But if I had to pick a color in this room, I’d take the grey of the walls. I really like that.”
Gregor: “What I really liked from head on when we talked with Filiz: I really wanted to prevail with my idea of using darker hues. And you were in it from the first second, that was pretty amazing. I love dark colors, there is only one motto for me out there: ‘Don’t be afraid of darker colors’, haha. You were just into it from the very first moment.”
Filiz: “Yeah, but that’s it you know. I wanted a different store, a brand new one. We tried coloring ourselves, with grey and green and all of that. But I really wanted all of it to harmonize, so I asked for Gregor’s advice.”
Otto: Just one more question before I head out for my after lunch siesta. What’s one thing in this café that wasn’t here before and now you can’t live with any longer?
Filiz: “Well, that sitting bench, haha!”
Otto: Yeah, it sure is practical and comfy. I think I will just stay on here directly and watch those people eat before I pass out. Or I’ll just steal things out of their bowl, I’m still hungry. Thanks for the interview, Filiz!