Cafe Diem Stumbles

After several summers of really bad customer service from Cafe Diem it looked, this year, like they were getting things right: lots of friendly staff, free Wifi, a good selection of fresh pastries, and a renovated interior that makes the right subtle corrections to the interior space.

So I started sending people there, telling them it was safe to go back in the water again.

This morning, though, a negative report. An anonymous friend, let’s call him “Eduardo,” went along, based on my recommendation, for an early coffee and tasty chocolate croissant this morning at 8:00 a.m. only to find:

  • The espresso machine “wasn’t ready yet.”
  • There was only one chocolate croissant available, a day-old.

Eduardo went home and made himself a coffee.

I’m not ready to call this a return to the bad old Café Diem, but they’re obviously not firing on all cylinders if they can’t serve coffee and croissants when they open.

I welcome additional reports from the field, positive or negative.


Cyn's picture
Cyn on July 4, 2005 - 16:47 Permalink

I assumed the same thing Peter. After all FREE wifi…if that doesn’t say come eat or food and drink our coffee and we will be prompt with our service.

Funny thing, people don’t mind standing in line at Timothy’s where things take a while to prepare, but they really mind the long waits at Cafe Diem. I think it’s because we can SEE the servers making our food and pouring our coffee at Timothy’s but at Cafe Diem it’s all a big secret. High countertops and a basement kitchen. So maybe the folks at T’s have the public’s empathy as we watch them make our sandwich in a vary similar way we might make it at home.

Aside from that somewhat psychological approach to the issue, Cafe Diem has always been too slow. I rarely send anyone there. But when a friend suggests we meet there for coffee, I usually say yes because I like sitting outside.

One more thing:
I think in order to work at Cafe Diem you have to walk and talk real slow.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 5, 2005 - 13:08 Permalink

We stopped in at Café Diem this morning at 8:30 a.m. and things had improved: espresso machine was ready to go, and they did have chocolate croissants (albeit day-old, but still tasty).

Elizabeth's picture
Elizabeth on August 2, 2005 - 15:25 Permalink

The past few years at Cafe Diem have been abominable, so give them some time to get back into things before you judge too hard. The place is small so it’s a cramped area to work in and considering the sandwiches are hot and take a lot of prepping it would be difficult to make them upstairs in front of the customers. Plus they are under new management and everyone needs a summer to get used to new things. They’re trying and this is definetly one of the best years they’ve had in a long time.

Katie's picture
Katie on August 3, 2005 - 20:48 Permalink

I had been referring friends to Cafe Diem this summer and one of them who frequents this particular weblog suggested that I take a look at what’s being said about the place. Personally, I really enjoy everything about the cafe. I have to say that Cyn is being a bit silly about being able to see the food prep at Cafe Diem. Yes, I understand that it’s easier to be patient when you see the food being prepared in front of your eyes, but come on, we don’t expect to see the food at FishBones being prepared but we’re understanding when the food takes a fairly long time to be made when the restaurant is busy. Have you realized that Cafe Diem is actually more of a restaurant with much higher quality food, in my opinion, than Timothy’s? And Elizabeth is right, the food is nice and hot so it must take a while for the prep to happen. I also agree with Elizabeth that the place definitely needs some time to get the kinks out…and in no work place is everything running smoothly at all times. As far as I’m concerned as long as the service is good I’m happy, and understanding, a quality that leaves much to be desired in both Peter and Cyn. My experiences at Cafe Diem have proven to me that their service is friendly and very helpful. And as for Cyn’s quip about having to walk and talk slow in order to work there, I say you’ve must’ve been on something when you were there to think that because it’s obvious to me that they work as fast as they can, and are very bright and sensible.

Roxy's picture
Roxy on September 1, 2005 - 01:28 Permalink

I too have been referring friends and tourists alike to the Cafe this summer, and can say that I have been nothing short of impressed with both the quality of food as well as the service. The Cafe has a bright, happy and eclectic atmosphere that I think adds to the heart of downtown Charlottetown. The food has always been wonderful and timely — good dishes take time to prepare, the deserts are mouthwatering and the staff is exceptional. To demean the staff of this establishment is an insult — and based on pure ignorance by someone who obviously has never worked in the food and beverage industry — let others enjoy the passionate and warm atmosphere of Cafe Diem — it’s a pleasure to have such a place in Charlottetown — You can stay home and eat zoodles.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous on July 23, 2009 - 03:21 Permalink

Yeah man, I know what you’re saying. I went a couple of times with friends who are coffe fanatics, and each time it was really lame service. The staff were rather incompetant and well, bitchy. They took forever and still messed up the order. Seriously, how hard is it to make a cup of joe? I’m hoping next summer they will change the name to something more suitable, such as “Cafe Stultus”. *chuckles*

Rachel's picture
Rachel on October 6, 2011 - 00:19 Permalink

I use to work at Cafe Diem about 12 years ago, although a long time, I’m sad that the place has fallen victim to poor service and unedible food. When I worked there there was 7 of us who worked full time all summer, best summer of my life. We had a great time, the people liked us and we liked them. The food, service and drinks were awesome. I sure hope things have improved as I would hate for my “favorite job ever” to become “worst experience ever” cafe.