Real Success Stories Part 6: Katie Gilroy – Urbun Cafe

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“It’s UrBUN not Urban. Get it wrong and we’ll spike your coffee”!

This story came from a good friend who happens to be Katie’s cousin. I am delighted to do a write up on Urbun Cafe and more importantly Katie Gilroy, the powerhouse behind it.

1. What made you start the Urbun Cafe?

I fell into food accidentally when the magazine I was writing for at the time thrust me into the restaurant reviews and soon after promoted me to Food Editor. To supplement my salary, I waited tables at a local restaurant and found myself falling in love with the buzz of making people happy through the medium of good food and great service.

I teamed up with a pal of mine to produce baked goods and lemonade at a farmer’s market (which was unbelievable craic) and six months later we happened across a vacant premise in Cabinteely and a landlord who was willing to take a punt on us. Five years on and I am the sole owner of Urbun and business is better than ever.

2. What has been your greatest success with Urbun Cafe?

Seeing the team evolve over the years and not only grow in size (we currently employ 18 people) but develop into a solid unit that work together and all share the same passion and drive to make Urbun the best cafe in Dublin. I’m very proud when a team member grows from a beginning of washing pots with little English and blossoms into a skilled barista who doesn’t stop chatting to the customers!

3. What has been your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?
I don’t view my mistakes as “failures” but do see the importance in making them and learning from them. Of course, there have been plenty. I have let negative influences hang around longer than they should have. If there is one bad apple on your team, they will poison the bunch and they need to get off the bus. People thrive in a positive working environment and when there’s an individual who is constantly moaning and making excuses, it can bring everyone else down and turn the atmosphere sour. I no longer tolerate negativity.

4. What would be a crucial piece of advice you would give to someone about starting your own business and success?

Don’t get involved in tasks that you have hired other people to do. Only you can do your job of running your business. Remind yourself of that everyday and keep focused on the big picture.

5. What inspires and motivates you?
I have always been ambitious and get a thrill out of throwing myself into unpleasant or challenging situations and emerging in tact having achieved a goal or objective. My passion for this business motivates me and my desire to be successful in my field is what drives me.
When you have an army of chefs, barista’s, waiters and kitchen porters behind you that not only believe in your message but quite heavily rely on you to make it real, it helps to push you along.
What’s next for Urbun Cafe?
I’ve always said that Urbun deserves to be bigger than just one cafe in Cabinteely.  I believe we have a strong brand with quality at its core so it’s only right that we share the love and open more branches in other neighbourhoods.
In a few weeks, I open a new restaurant in Sandymount Village which I’m very excited about as this is my first solo project. This one will be quite different from Urbun- different style, different menu and we’ll be open nights. We’ll still have great coffee though!
Katies words of wisdom:
The goal is to keep challenging myself and push my brand as far as it can go. Although after I get this second restaurant open, I think I might just take a break for a few weeks!
Check out www.urbun.ie and make sure you pop in to grab yourself some great food, amazing coffee and quality above everything else!
A big thank you to Katie for sharing her success story with myself and all my followers. If you are looking to open a cafe or to create your dream I am sure this inspired you to take that extra step and start!

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