Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lindt Cafe, Melbourne

Well, it started and ended with this picture... the chocolate eclair that looked like it had been licked.

I've walked past the Lindt Cafe -Melbourne CBD - a few times and marveled each time at the queue of people waiting to get in. Personally I'd rather give my money to passionate, artisan pastry chefs, than multinational companies but I guess I am in the minority.

As a professional food browser (self declared, to PDCs frustration) I took it upon myself to try and work out what all the fuss was about.
On my first visit, I noticed that of the few products that were actually on display, cakes were mostly at restaurant prices ($12-$15) without the extra love and attention you would see a pastry chef put into a plated dessert
ie you get a slice of a cake made in a large commercial slab, for the same price as an individually crafted resraurant dessert.
There was chocolates that had mostly been made in your standard moulds and some interesting sounding ice creams that seemed well priced. Macarons or as they describe them 'Delice' were missing from the display.

I tweeted at the time suggesting that the long queue was reflective of a Max Brenner style frenzy.

A month passes and again I am window shopping at the Lindt Cafe, yet this time there are quite a selection of products on display. The catch is that many of them look not quite right, in my honest opinion.
There's the licked eclair, broken and very poorly filled macarons, cakes with finger prints in the ganache and dried cracked cream. In short the offer was unacceptably poor and yet again, people are queuing like sheep to get into the place.
I don't get it.

I again tweet my findings and am humbled by the many stunned reactions to the products. It's not just a personal food nerd fussiness that's saying that it's not good enough, many people are surprised at the lack of quality. So it's with this fire in my boutique-sweets-loving belly, I email Lindt customer service in Sydney to see if they have anything to say about my identifed 'quality control issues', and as I was expecting there is no attention to detail on the customer service department either as nobody has returned my email.

Oh well, I guess I already knew were I stood with Lindt Cafe, I knew it wasn't for me but I thought they might like our feedback. I guess they are too busy serving crappy products to silly people who are willing to queue for them because they think it's the hot place.
More fool them for paying $6 for the eclair that everyone said "Eww" to.